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Work Starts Now

Work Starts Now

India 9 min

In Work Starts Now, Kush Badhwar casts a dry and quasi-humorous glance on the processes of monumentalization as it plays out in the present, where implacable political czars perennially place icons before people. In the video, we are introduced to a few chatty workers deconstructing the image of Kalvakuntha Chandrashekar Rao after his swearing-in ceremony as the first Chief Minister of India’s 29th and newest state, Telangana. This work comes out of Badhwar’s ongoing engagement with archives in the context of Telangana statehood.

Kush Badhwar is a filmmaker interested in shifting definitions of traditional mass-media, collaborating with unorthodox actors and using artistic intervention for improvised and informal political engagement. He is currently undertaking the India Foundation of the Arts Archival Fellowship in India’s newest state, Telangana.

MONITOR
Apple Tree

Apple Tree

Iran/USA 3 min

Tala Madani’s paintings, drawings, and stop-motion animations construct grotesque worlds and fantastical scenes, in which men perform bizarre rituals. Both Apple Tree and Eye Stabber are stop-motion animations consisting of up to thousands of still images painted sequentially on a single piece of wood for a camera to record frame by frame. In sequence, the images begin a smeary movement across a plane, representing an imagined world that is insufferably soiled and replete with the markings of the ridiculous.

Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias Gallery. 

Tala Madani is an Iranian-American artist, whose work is rich in narrative and heavy in irony. Her paintings depict darkly comic mise-en-scénes, whilst her descriptive and intimately scaled paintings, and painterly video animations, depict uncomfortable scenes in which bald, middle-aged men engage in absurd scenarios that fuse playfulness with violence and perversity. Madani’s work has been exhibited internationally, including the New Museum, New York (2009), Venice Biennale (2011), Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2014).

MONITOR
Eye Stabber

Eye Stabber

Iran/USA 2 min

Tala Madani’s paintings, drawings, and stop-motion animations construct grotesque worlds and fantastical scenes, in which men perform bizarre rituals. Both Apple Tree and Eye Stabber are stop-motion animations consisting of up to thousands of still images painted sequentially on a single piece of wood for a camera to record frame by frame. In sequence, the images begin a smeary movement across a plane, representing an imagined world that is insufferably soiled and replete with the markings of the ridiculous.

Both works courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias Gallery.

Tala Madani is an Iranian-American artist, whose work is rich in narrative and heavy in irony. Her paintings depict darkly comic mise-en-scénes, whilst her descriptive and intimately scaled paintings, and painterly video animations, depict uncomfortable scenes in which bald, middle-aged men engage in absurd scenarios that fuse playfulness with violence and perversity. Madani’s work has been exhibited internationally, including the New Museum, New York (2009), Venice Biennale (2011), Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2014).

MONITOR
Weapons of Mass Destruction

Weapons of Mass Destruction

India 3 min

In Weapons of Mass Destruction, Kapadia considers the treatment of food in contemporary society on spiritual level. Through stop motion animation and the use of Google images, she enunciates the problem of ‘manufacturing’ the very essence of human survival, addressing issues of climate change with regards to food and agriculture.

Payal Kapadia is a filmmaker and artist based in Mumbai. Her work includes documentary, experimental film, and animation. Her films have shown in various international festivals including the Zurich Film Festival (2014), Experimenta, India (2013), and The Cairo Video Festival (2011, 2013). Her work ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ was selected for the prestigious Artport, Forth Biennale competition in 2014.

MONITOR
somewhere, elsewhere

somewhere, elsewhere

India 5 min

The term ‘somewhere elsewhere’ generally implies being in a different place, position or situation from where one is. Kothamachu uses this term to describe the state one is likely to be in when fantasizing. Toeing the line between the tangible and that which is not, somewhere elsewhere unfolds as a visual and vocal narrative where fantasy and desire intertwine.

Anjana Kothamachu is a visual artist based in Bangalore and Mumbai. Her work manifests itself as objects, audio, moving image and drawing. She is a recipient of Inlaks Fine Art Award 2013 and has been a resident at several residencies; Stiftung Futur Foundation (Switzerland), Sandarbh International Artists Association (India), Khoj International Artists Association (India), and The Changwon Sculpture Biennale (South Korea). She is the ISCP Inlaks artist in residence in New York in 2015.

MONITOR
Northeast Shadow

Northeast Shadow

Indonesia 7min

Northeast Shadow is the last film of a trilogy by Mahardika Yudha, inspired by his visit to the Assam region. Taking its cue from the poem The Land of Java, written by Rabindranath Tagore in 1927 after his trip to Java, the film is a meditation on history, identity and overcoming the trauma of war. Both the site of a series of ongoing conflicts, and an interregional meeting point for people from China, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, Assam gave the artist a space to reflect on his own native country, Indonesia, and its historical relationship to India.

Mahardika Yudha works as coordinator in Research and Development Division at Forum Lenteng and Media Art Division at ruangrupa. His works have been exhibited extensively, including in the Singapore Biennale (2013) Videobrasil (2013) and SeMA Mediacity Biennale Seoul (2014).

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Planking

Planking

Thailand 3 min

Each day at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm the Thai national anthem is broadcast on every TV channel, radio program, and public loudspeaker in Thailand. All activity stops; everyone stands and listens. In this silent video a man “planks” down in train stations, parks, and other communal spaces while the anthem plays. The action is both formal and trivial, complicating the moment. The staged interventions are irreverent and unsettling, evoking images of political protesters and casualties of war.

Chulayarnnon Siriphol works in short film, documentary and video art. Most of his works are inspired by personal memory and Thai political crises. His works have been screened in many film festivals and exhibitions in Asia and Europe, including in The 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands (2005), Sharjah Biennial 11, United Arab Emirates (2013) and The 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Japan (2014).

MONITOR
Water Panics in the Sea

Water Panics in the Sea

USA 14 min

Water Panics in the Sea is the fourth in a series of short films based on the five elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Ether. Constructed through a process of iterative magnification and manipulation of minute details derived from monotype prints and drawings, the film seeks to question our habituated perception by an intricate use of scale, distance, time and space. Reflecting on human themes of odyssey and conquest, the film follows the voyage of a ghost ship as it traverses the ocean waters.

Laleh Khorramian’s work takes theatre and the spectacle as its point of departure, to explore aspects of human nature and emotional states of consciousness. Her experimental animations are subjective accounts of historic events, ancient myths, and biblical themes. By removing cultural and historic specificity from these narratives, she examines the essence of their visual forms and emotional content. Khorramian’s work has exhibited internationally, and she currently lives and works in New York.

MONITOR
Forerunner

Forerunner

India 12 min

Forerunner brings together a seamless narrative of passages from Jorge Luis Borges’ stories with an imagined account of a Tughlaq-era hunting lodge in Delhi (which, according to some historians, doubled as an observatory), and the story of a sage who mysteriously disappeared from the lodge, giving the site its current name, Pir Ghaib. The hunter, the explorer, and the mystic are intertwined in the history and legend of Pir Ghaib, and Rahal has used the site as a point of departure for an exploration into a metaphysical reflection on history.

Mumbai-based artist Sahej Rahal’s installations, films and performances are part of an elaborate personal mythology created by drawing characters from local legends to science fiction. By bringing these into dialogue with each other, Rahal creates scenarios where strange and indeterminate beings emerge into the everyday. Rahal has exhibited internationally and most recently exhibited at the Kochi Muziris Biennale (2014).

MONITOR

These Monsters are Real

2015 59 min

The title of a 7” record by riot grrrl band Heavens to Betsy, “These Monsters are Real” conjures feelings of anxiety, fear and panic. While the reference to monsters elicits the realm of fiction and fantasy, the insistence on their realness re-centers experiences of horror and trauma, summoning images of mutated and abject beings.

Monitor 11 takes this title as its starting point and asks that we claim a space for the imaginary and the make-believe that can emerge from and entangle with the most monstrous acts, which have become a part of our everyday reality. We began with these questions: How does trauma haunt us? How do we build fictions that tell the stories of our lived realities? And finally, how do we fantasize our way out?

The films offer us various spaces through which to reflect on these questions, from the local and national, to the organic and natural, as well as the imaginary and extraterrestrial. Rather than being the backdrop to the action, these spaces take centre stage, emerging as threats, mutations and sometimes, anthropomorphic fantasies. The program deconstructs reality while oversaturating it with possibilities. Reflecting on the increasing social anxieties about environmental catastrophes, current geopolitical crises, and global tragedies, the films generate a fertile ground for meditation and hope through fantasy, humour and parody.

The dismantling of icons is echoed in Tala Madani’s stop-motion animation Apple Tree. A reflection on the kinds of control and pain cliches of masculinity inflict on the body, Madani offers a darkly comic response to the playfulness, perversity, and at times, violence of gender performance. In Eye Stabber, Madani takes surveillance as her subject to ridicule. Whilst the figures that appear in Madani’s work are stereotypical, iconic and loaded with associations, the activities in which they are engaged are strange and absurd causing them to oscillate between self-assurance and humiliation.

In Weapons of Mass Destruction, Payal Kapadia paints an apocalyptic image of 21st century agricultural practices. Here, it is food—the very essence of life—which is the culprit of acts of mass destruction. The film tracks the evolution of certain foods from mythological and sacred to mechanically produced and genetically modified. The real life exploding watermelons, which appeared throughout Asia as a result of growth hormones, are shown here bombarding the collage-constructed urban landscape.

Azar Mahmoudian is an independent curator and researcher based in Tehran. She has curated exhibitions and screenings for Cultuurcentrum Bruges, Belgium; Contemporary Art Brussels; SOAS, University of London; Blackwood Gallery, Toronto; and was a 2014 Fellow of Global Art Forum 8, Dubai. She currently works as a lecturer in Tehran universities and collaborates with a project-space in Tehran.

Leila Pourtavaf is a Toronto-based writer, independent curator and doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. She was a founding member and coordinator of the projet Mobilivre– Bookmobile project, and editor of The Bookmobile Book (2015) which chronicles the project’s history. She is also the editor of Féminismes Électriques (2012), a bilingual collection of essays which reflect on the last decade of feminist art production.



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