Zihan Karim, the curator of the exhibition, creates a dialogue between the real and the virtual. He stages interventions in the cityscape using film projections that complicate the nature of the site. Deploying the capacity of emotion, the sensible image-movement, and our ability to imagine, Karim leads viewers to a perceptual world, to evoke meaning rather than mere description. Karim is an audio-visual artist who works with a range of media including moving image, installation, sound and painting. Karim is a core member of the “Jog art space” collective.
Artists: Akaliko Records, Ashfika Rahman, Emran Sohel, Fahim Hasan Sahan, Habiba Nowrose, Jiasrin Hoque, Mizanur Rahman Sakib, Mosiur Rahman, Mushfiq Mahbub Turjo, Razib Datta, Sharad Das, Syed Md Sohrab Jahan, Walid Saddam
Proximity deals with motion and human interaction, such as, moments and inputs to translate them into digital art. Everything in the universe can be translated to data, for instance, our movement is data, it is data with XYZ coordinates giving a precise measurement of our point of stance. Data translated meaningfully can portray anything and can be translated into anything. Sound and design is just a part of this wide spectrum.
Siam, Audio programming
Rafi, Visual programming
Files of the Disappeared
More than 4,000 young people have been picked up randomly by the police in recent years. They were tortured in custody. Some came back, but they are not allowed to speak out. The photographs show the locations where the bodies were found after ‘clashes’ between the police and so-called criminals. The landscapes raise questions about the portraits and their associated reality. This work is a meditative documentation on the youth of my country who were falsely accused. Twenty-six years old Alif (pseudonym) was a labourer in Dubai for the last few years. He went back to visit his family in Bangladesh and was arrested the day after he arrived. He has no idea why, especially since he was not even in the country for so long. My protagonists prefer to be photographed in their own space where they feelsafe and comfortable with their dearest ones. In custody, different methods of torture are used, both psychological as well as physical. Though psychological torture results in more trauma to the person, it cannot be visualized, only the long-term effect is seen on the person. I try to take my protagonists through a meditative journey which may allow them to investigate their own anxiety which they kept secret for so long. Illustrating personal emotion in one’s own portrait is a process of healing. Stitching the photographs with golden thread is a symbolic representation of silence in custody. The disappearance of people by law-enforcement agencies is an alarming trend not only in Bangladesh or Southeast Asia, it’s also a global concern. It is a threat to human rights and a challenge to law and justice.
Countless stone fragments, objects large and small, wander on the road with slabs of flesh, wrapped in skin. Does it matter to anyone whether the objects lie or move, or whether they do or don’t wander around? Air does not perish, it never will, aeroplanes pierce the wind and fly away. Water quivers, old lines surrender in the hope of new ones being born; old or changing lines are dead, their memories touch the layer which covers our feelings. Invoking memories transforms places into new scenes, Braille letters metaphorically lead us to the conscious. This presentation draws on the sensitivity of expressing my surroundings and personal circumstances.
Fahim Hasan Sahan
The Happy Tree
So, be happy, or feel nothing at all; rest – depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD, eating disorder, PTSD, and many more! – are just abnormalities. But it would seem from the list that being happy is the exception, the anomaly. It’s about time our society opens up to the rest. Anyhow, it’s a good thing we’re now taking the time, position and privilege to talk about mental health; maybe that indicates we have somehow figured out all other issues? But with this celebration of generalising mental disorders, arises the pandemic of an uber sensitive generation.“That’s not you sweetie, that’s only your bipolar disorder speaking” – No Miss Kaniz, he’s just a spoiled brat. Also, just cause you like your pencils sharpened, does not mean you have OCD. All you are doing is diminishing the urgency of real patients. That being said, perhaps we’d rather have some fake ones spreading awareness than no awareness at all.
Life Cycle of a Venus
In Roman mythology Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty and fertility. Not only does Venus embody sex, love, beauty but also enticement, seduction, and persuasive female charm among the community of immortal gods. She has become the symbol of femininity itself. How can I portray Venus in my imaginary world? A world where kitschy fabric with pattern and color speak in volumes? What will be the most significant stages of that Venus? Can those stages represent the life of women I see everyday?
Local mobs, in a series of attacks in Ramu, Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh, on the night between 29 and 30 October 2012, destroyed 12 Buddhist temples and monasteries and 50 Buddhist houses, in a violent response to a Buddhist youth’s alleged tagging of an image of Qur’an desecration purportedly in his Facebook account. My artwork is based on that communal attack. In this video art, a wax Buddha, burns and melts, it symbolises the decadence of humanity. I rewind the video in this installation, this symbolises the restoration of the statue of the Lord Buddha, and faith in humanity and the inner strength of people.
Mizanur Rahman Sakib
The Place Where the Sun has Another Name
Mundane activities lead to the creation and discovery of the connectivity of magical forces. They go beyond the repetitive activities of corporate production lines and associated expectations. They reach out, through objects set in motion and the exploration of space, to more human and playful acts. The fictional stage recalls the interconnectivity and magnetism between humans, other living organisms and the entire cosmos. The space time continuum creates a window into a future that is yet to arrive.
Skin of Lotus
It was my 28th birthday. I was anxiously waiting in the chamber of a pediatric retina specialist. My twins, who had been born in the 26th week (six and a half months) of pregnancy, had been diagnosed with advanced ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity). They were undergoing major optical surgery. The operation on Lotus was unsuccessful. Suddenly I felt I couldn’t breath. I looked around me but everything was as it should be, except me.
Things gradually crumbled at home. Her mother was scared to take her out for fear of rude comments. After two years she developed seizures, the neurologist said it was due to excessive electron flow through her brain. I was deeply upset at her restless behavior. But then I discovered something which gave me hope. I realised that the eye was not everything. It was the touch sensation which made her normal, which made her life easier. Touching a surface can make one’s heart race, bring forth tears or make one burst out into laughter. It enables one to get the gist of a thing unconsciously, it is the first language, also the last. It always tells the truth.
The Skin of Lotus is a photography story which reveals my views of life and love, my new perspective and my journey. It is a story of contradictions, doubts and understanding, of laughter and forgetting, one in which I constantly question myself by documenting the painful aspects of my life which might otherwise have seemed disconnected.
I have inserted braille text into my daughter’s portrait to present her from different perspectives, her speech and thoughts. I have also used Polaroid photographs shot by my twins.
According to medical science, it’s unlikely Lotus will get her vision back. But I so wish she could see these photographs!
Mushfiq Mahbub Turjo
Mother Died and Time Passed
What is identity? Is it a name or a face? Or is it a form obtained while in a particular position? We search our identity every day. We emphasise our features. Give ourselves importance; in the hope of gaining recognition from others. We can lose everything but not our self. Due to political reasons, some people from Myanmar have taken refuge in my country. They are like the waves of an ocean. Waves do not have any identity; waves together form the ocean. Innumerable people, simultaneously homeless, and identity-less. Together, they are the Rohingya. A huge number, spanning here and there. Larger numbers still, remain huddled in homes lacking any identity.
Songs from the Second Floor
These images are still images of vintage FDC [Film Development Corporation] cinemas taken by old phone cameras of old television sets. Our youth was spent in watching FDC cinemas on TV screens. We were a joint family of 14 plus members, and our hearts would beat in rhythm to the cinema scenes as they flashed by on our 14 inch monitor. The fourteen of us are no longer together. The TV set is not there either, nor are those films. Nowadays, every room has a TV set, large ones, most recent model.
Old cinemas have given way to new ones. These have new characters, new songs, new dances, new kinds of violence, stories too, are new. Nothing old exists any longer.
When I came across what is old in the mofussil [provincial towns], when I saw old TV sets anew, I thought of capturing these images by using old phone cameras. To take photos, gaze at them. It made me realise all over again of how detached we have become. These images made me realise how such familiar scenes and faces have become alien due to alienation. I am sharing these images with viewers and readers here, through these means.
My current body of work is devoted to knowing oneself, which is a journey. It is about discovering what I am as a human being – yes, the real ‘I’. The journey is unpredictable, it brings me face to face with myself, with my deepest fears, doubts, vulnerabilities and insecurities. The process is deeply connected with fear, the fear of death, and in a way, the fear of arrival, too. We encounter the same search for knowledge of the self in Baul philosophy, probing the inherent divinity of the body and searching within the self formeaning, for discovering ‘moner manush’ (man of my heart) in the lonely path to knowledge. The human body occupies a central place in Baul thinking. Fakir Lalon
Shah has variously described the human body in his music –as ‘abode’, ‘cage’, ‘boat’, ‘arshi nagar’. The body is a temple, a vessel for the soul and ultimately the Supreme Being. There is no truth outside the material body. The body is the universe and the universe is the body- it is the first axiomatic principle for Lalon. Body as a material being is the way to know the universe.
Syed Md Shohrab Jahan
This structure looks like a book built by wood. It’s difficult to be sure it’s a book as it’s being built. I don’t want to be sure what it really is before Chobimela happens. Oh yes, I made this book earlier as part of a children’s happening in 2015 with some content from primary and high school books but I fictionalised the content. Children enjoyed it as they were bored of their books, but as a structure it was not really what I wanted to make. Now I am making this book again after three years, so it’s changing. I’m rethinking the structure, remaking the content, and also the object itself physically.
A white hen with its throat slit, shuddering in a blue drum. The idea pops into my head that the world is a drum. Drum and world – both are round. Immediately come to mind manhole, time, wheel, button, eye’s iris, potato, man, moon, sun. Tree, leaf, umbrella, feet, earth, oil, water, clothes, mother, blood, bed, biscuit, heart, air, rape, rain, banana, war, laughter, love, shoes, plane, books, puffed rice, all that I see, all that comes to mind, all is round.
The bus window was about to close.
Somewhere far away, time laughs, man laughs, like a duck.
Guns are sold at toy shops.
Chobi Mela X
International Festival of Photography, Bangladesh
February 28 – March 9, 2019