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Cooking a culture curry

Experimental art can be tricky, quaint and niche, but Delhi doesn’t seem to hesitate when it comes to ‘messing’ with the arts. The acceptance for this seems to grow as word-of-mouth and Facebook help smaller venues fill to the brim, writes Jairaj Singh.

art and culture Updated: Apr 24, 2010 00:13 IST
Jairaj Singh

Experimental art can be tricky, quaint and niche, but Delhi doesn’t seem to hesitate when it comes to ‘messing’ with the arts. The acceptance for this seems to grow as word-of-mouth and Facebook help smaller venues fill to the brim. Though of late it’s been clubs, lounges, art houses or an occasional art gallery that usually lend it a stage, it’s never your traditional space.

While it’s unfair to call experimental art a jugalbandi or fusion — although you can call it whatever you may — it is also coming about in a form where traditional arts merge with the digital realm. Most often such experiments work. But, at times they disappoint. Only a handful, however, cross over for a mainstream viewing.

But now that may change.

Next Thursday, the Mocha Art House, a lounge that has been promoting and staging experimental art, is organising ‘The Expression Experiments: Experiments in Interdisciplinary Performances’, at one of the city’s most traditional cultural venues, the Triveni Kala Sangam.

The show is a series of performances that play with traditional arts and the digital medium, attempting to bridge old and new cultures.

The first part of the evening includes an Indian and Western classical music performance. Shyamant Behal of New Delhi Guitar Quartet will play the western classical guitar and will be followed by tabla and sitar exponents Somnath Ghosh and Amitabh respectively.

And while they perform, the nature and content of their music will be viewed on a screen that employs cinematic visuals, motion graphics and sound-reactive animation.

The second part of the show will be a Bharatanatyam recital by Jayalakshmi Eshwar. The visuals accompanying her recital will be synchronised as they solely focus on her gestures, expressions and movements, shot previously from multiple camera angles.

The third part will be more like a sit-down electronic music baithak. Music producer and DJ Udyan Sagar (known as Nucleya) will team up with Thiruda of Basic Love of Things (BLOT) as they slice, remix dialogues, songs and music of kitschy Bollywood films.

Meanwhile, a short, heady film will play in the background that will mash up visuals from films, television and popular culture. It attempts to give a ‘mad audio visual’ experience.

“People often attend an art exhibition or a performance but come back devoid of an experience,” says Avinash Kumar of BLOT, curator of the show. “The idea of the show is to ensure a certain takeback.”