"Over 100 artists, both Asian and non-, offer a kaleidoscopic panorama of a new aesthetic paradigm currently proliferating from Asia to the rest of the world. Crossing genres and disciplines as they appropriate the digital culture of the 21st century, artists working in this eclectic new aesthetic are generating new types of relationships to the globalizing world."- Excerpt from the Short Guide distributed at the exhibition. Future Pass - From Asia to the World. Collateral Event Biennale Arte 2011. June 4th - Nov. 6th 2011.
The word 'kaleidoscope' is an accurate description of this brilliant collection of work by a wide range of artists from across asia and the world. I spent hours here and didn't regret it for a moment (we had only 5 days to see the entire Biennale). If anyone asked me what the best thing to see in the Biennale was, it would be Future Pass. Several of the artists were also around when we visited, which made it an unforgettable experience.
Kea. 1980-. A Salute to Fashion. Acrylic on Canvas. 162X130cm. 2011.
Wang Mai. 1972-. Using wisdom to capture the oil monster #12. Mixed material. 160X100X200 cm. 2011. [detail].
Untitled Installation by Mu Lei. Video projection on a bathtub.
[Future Pass - From Asia to the World. Collateral Event Biennale Arte 2011. June 4th - Nov. 6th 2011. The UNEEC Culture and Education Foundation Taipei, The Today Art Museum of Beijing, The Wereldmuseum of Rotterdam, The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, In Collaboration with the Fondazione Claudio Buziol of Venice, curated by Victoria Lu, Renzo di Renzo and Felix Schober].
My first real trip to London (I feel like such a tourist): it was only a day but we covered quite a bit, bravely braving the wind and rain to see as many art shows and galleries we could within a day. And we successfully covered at least ten, I think, popping in and out of the tube and walking and walking...
All kinds of stuff gets sold on local Bombay trains, especially in the women's compartments: vegetables, fruits, safety pins, cell phone covers, earrings, rings, bangles, sarees, stationary, dress material, make-up, evening snacks, you name it. What caught my eye this time was the last of the vegetable stock being sold off late in the evening - past 9pm. Within a few minutes everything is gone, because almost every woman in the compartment has to go home and cook for the family.
Crudely painted stenciled signage from the relatively new Mumbai local trains. The 'Alarm' sign inside the compartment is pretty legible, but do the same in Marathi, and suddenly it is more difficult to read especially because it's partly scratched off.
I can figure out the first and last word, it says apatkaleen (something) uplabdh. Then the arrow points to the footboard of the compartment door. A real puzzle, typical of the Indian government or should I say Railway authorities. I can guess it means 'In case of emergency (aapatkaleen) use this (uplabdh)' then the arrow pointing to the footboard. God only knows what it's supposed to point to.
It's an excellent example of the typical contradictions you face everyday in Bombay. The new trains have this cool new speaker system which announces the nearest station in three languages, and at the same time the emergency help services and signage are at this level.
An entire city of film sets, from Bollywood and Hollywood to famous monuments and what not. Located in the outskirts of Hyderabad the place seems to be more of a tourist destination than a place for movie directors to find their perfect location. Apparently, it isn't as popular as it once was in the film industry, but it's still an entertaining experience. A bright red tourist bus takes you around the massive place, while a guide rattles off the number of movies and famous directors that have chosen locations here.
This is called Hollywood st. for some reason, where the houses look western, perfect for a scene in a foreign country :)
Jimmy's Drive In
The gas station near Jimmy's:
A train engine which says Texas Mail:
The wild west area has several actors and stunt men who perform an entire action sequence, blowing up banks, etc.
Now for the more local, Indian sets! A fort, or it would be more accurate to call it the entrance to a fort.
Chikatpally police station, although the set was dismantled to some extent, it was worth a shot :)
A fake airport, looks like what it may have looked like 10 or 20 yrs ago. Completely outdated.
Inside the airplane set, look at the number of tourists!
One of the several palace sets, lit up at night.
Giant creepy statues that line some of the pavements.
The north-west monsoons arrive in Pondicherry, bringing torrential rains and lightning storms. A dark cloud arrives, dominating the skies.
Some photographs that attempt to describe urban Indian streets at night.
I've always been curious about the local graveyard. Sometimes I see backpackers and tourists leave the place, carrying their bulky SLR's. So I finally made the time, and walked through it. It surprised me because it wasn't typical. Not that I've seen many graveyards. The only other time I've set foot in one is for a silly dare when I was a kid. Another time was when I was doing a design project near the border of Rajasthan in a village called Idar. I visited a very small Dargah there, deserted and locked away. Technically its not a graveyard, but its very similar in concept to a graveyard because it is burial ground.
There are a lot of old Tamil and French houses in Pondicherry. Some of the houses have an interesting fusion of Tamil and french architecture. For example, one house I had lived in for about two weeks when I first landed up in Pondy has a ground floor in Tamil style, with a large central courtyard et al, and the first floor in French style with a ballroom to entertain French guests. It was owned by an Indian beurocrat in the days when Pondy was a French Colony. A lot of these houses are in the prime areas right next to the beach. They are taken up and redone as guesthouses and cafe's and restaurants, and they flourish because of all the tourists coming in, or at least, I think they flourish. Anyway, this is a photograph of one such place. This beautiful house has been bought up by a kitchen company!
It was weird, we were walking by and from the outside, we thought it was probably a cafe so we walked in. Instead, its been converted into a store to sell kitchen appliances. It was strange and uncomfortable for some reason, the mismatch between the old house and the commercial kitchen company.
Detail: A beautiful door knob at the entrance -
I lived all alone in this old Tamil house for about two weeks while I was looking out for an apartment. Everyone told me it was haunted and all that, but I didn't have any scary experiences (what a surprise ^_^). The house itself was old, old and beautiful. The current owner told me an interesting story about the house. Less than a hundred years ago it was owned by a hi-flying Tamil bureaucrat when Pondicherry was still a French Colony. According to an old cook who has worked in the house for more than sixty years, the name of the previous owner was Ramaswami Chettiyar, his daughters name was Rani and his wife's name was Maragadham. He built the ground floor in traditional Tamil style, with a courtyard and everything, while the first floor is built in French style, with chandeliers, high ceilings and a huge ballroom to entertain French guests. I lived on the first floor, but most of the rooms were closed off. Large parts of the house have been broken down over time to give space for roads and neighbours, only the smaller parts of it remain, and even those are badly maintained. That's probably why some people find it scary.
My favourite part of the place; The bathroom door is completely stained glass:
Detail of the giant mirrors on both sides of the drawing room.
The stained glass windows really add to the overall effect, and conflict nicely with the traditional, and brightly painted carved wood and absence of glass on the ground floor:
Only some of painted details remain, but these wooden columns were completely painted before falling into disrepair. Unfortunately, this part of the house has also not been maintained.
Here you can see an area where the bright colours are still visible and not completely faded: