An Album of Video Art works screened at Helsinki's Kiasma Museum of Modern Art tripping the light diasporique: from Noor Jehan to Norah Jones, Marxist Economists to Merle Oberon, Electroclash to early morning mantras ...
"An unconventional take on the cinematic anecdote Never Been to Merle is a multi-chromatic picturization of Merle Oberon’s description of the car crash that sent her to a London emergency room unable to re- member her own invented name even as fans around her chanted it. An Anglo-Indian born in Bombay in 1911, Estelle O’Brien Thompson passed and re- invented herself as English and white -- and as Merle Oberon -- a 1930s Hollywood star. Layering a me-lodic line of sarod with samples from the light FM hits “Never Been to Me” and “Get Here if You Can” the video literalizes the many shades of passing -- personal, cinematic and historical.
WITH DANCE BY PARIJAT DESAI this is definitely The most remixed of the album tracks. this 3 minute original is a solid ten Minutes nowadays with more Kenny Loggins than you can shake a .. log at. It Begins with an Address from a concert at the un: "Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the hymn in English will now be performed at the beginning of the resumption of the music after the intermission" The sun then also rises over downtown New York and Bombay (as it was) -- over a very contemporary exercise in rooftop repatriation Dressed up to the maxi in 70s fashion. its all about Gayatri Mantranslating while keeping up with the (Norah) Jones’
FEATURING GITA REDDY, SRIDHAR VENKATAPURAM, SURABHI KUKKE AND ZAHID ZAMAN. HINDUSTAN (1995) BY GITA REDDY AND DAVID KALAL. A TENTH ANNIVERSARY REMIX OF THE 1995 VIDEO 'HINDUSTAN' WITH MORE MELODIC THOUGHT ON TRAVEL, FOREIGNNESS AND ROMANCE. IN THIS RE-INCARNATION, AS OUR HEROS AND HEROINES PACK THEIR BAGS AND FASTEN THEIR COATS, BING CROSBY AND ROSEMARY CLOONEY CHIRP THEIR 1950S TRAVEL SONG AT CROSS PURPOSES WITH PARDESI, PARDESI. THE SONG IS FROM 1996’S ‘RAJA HINDUSTANI’ FAMED WHEN IT CAME OUT FOR ITS SCANDALOUS KISS, NO SHY TURNING OF THE HEAD, NO OBJECT TO SUDDENLY BLOCK THE VIEWER’S LINE OF SIGHT, BUT AN ACTUAL LIPLOCK. THIS REMIX UPS THE ANTE/ANTI/AUNTIE.
While tracking a phone call gone astray between continents, chromatics, cinemas and soundtracks – Henry Mancini’s theme from 'Charade' (1963) meets its suspect twin in Shankar Jaikishan’s theme from ‘Gumnaam.’ (1965). Simultaneously Bollywood actress Nanda tries to get through to The Chapelle Show as wavering video backup singers keeps time to her plaintive, repeating calls of “Hello”. Navy Blue of India looks at the transnational migration of image/sound -- much of its original footage was harvested from VHS compilation tapes of Hindi film musical numbers subtitled for (guest worker) audiences in The Gulf. This frenetic glimpse of translation and slippage has text from Diana Vreeland, Oliver Goldsmith and the Gita Govindam of Jayadev.
Economist Descending a Staircase Featuring Radhika Balakrishnan. After: Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) by Marcel Duchamp (and particularly Duchampiana by Shigeko Kubota). Specificity, biography and history all meet the Duchampian project on that oft-trod staircase in the age of digital reproduction. Duchamps use of pochoir is here transposed with a practice of digitally stenciling the line and geometries of Nude Descending … across a collection of portraits of the economist Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan –as Kathakali dancer, Corot portrait, Lady Liberty, Queen Victoria, Empress Eugenie, Nathalie Wood, Jayalalita etc. This hyper-specified, post-modernist portraiture grows in referentiality as the staircase descent becomes increasingly fractured, shingled and cubist. In counter- point the Mohamad Rafi samples (from Beti Bete and Kohinoor) become more insistent as the soundtrack and visuals build to a formal resolution between painting and commentary.
This audio excerpt from a 1960s BBC documentary "It's true the French call sodomy le Vice Anglais, but without reliable statistics we can al- ways dismiss that as ANGLOPHOBIA" sets the tone for this look at notions of national identity and symbolism. The French have their version of Anglophobia, the colonials have theirs -- which in this video is overseen by the punkahwallah from Kipling’s “The Man Who would be King” -- slowly observing the ceremonial processions of British government. The iron fencing around Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament is manipulated into patterns of floral lace against the London sky -- the Union Jack wriggles like an animated amoeba meshing its various representative crosses into oddly liquid flagella, double decker buses and Underground signage move like lipstick smears across the screen. These iconic symbols of the imperial hegemon and its capital city become abstracted into the symmetrically paired opposite of Anglophobia – into a decorative ‘Angloiserie.’ On the soundtrack an emerging commentary on phobic desire is provided by the hippies from Dev Anand’s 'Hari Ram Hari Krishna' singing ‘”I Love You” and the journey is continued by an Indian train ride through the credits of Masterpiece Theater -- the long entrenched televisual home of American anglophilia .-- one has to wonder iF national phobia 'isn't brutality at all, but the sourIng side of love.'
Electroclash Wojnarowicz Featuring Jacob Peres, footage originally conceived of as part of TrueMyth (directed by Christopher Eaves from text by David Wojnarowicz) as part of the Blue Heron Art’s Center’s Out on a Limb Series. A retro-synth, drum machine treatment of David Wojnarowicz, "When I Put My Hands On Your Body.” with recreations and citations of his Falling Buffalo, Ant Series and particularly his Rimbaud in New York series and -- fusing re-hash with mash-up, video with photography, politically engaged art with style based imitation, 80s nostalgia and the stark poetic stakes of the decade.
“All these thing will be lost in time … like tears in rain.”