Chip in the Block

Junk computer components find a new life as works of art in Mukesh Sharma’s studio

Written by Vandana Kalra | Published: July 17, 2013 3:48 am

It’s a strange merger between nature and technology — a world where computer monitors act as planters and computer keys sprout from branches. “We are enslaved by technology and the simple keyboard button is taking over our lives. Rapid technology change and its outpourings alter the aesthetics of a society. In this context,it is becoming increasingly important for me as an artist to synthesise global visuals into a local vocabulary,” says the work’s creator Mukesh Sharma.

The postgraduate from MS University gathered material from junk shops,industrial waste and his immediate surroundings for the exhibition titled “A Terabyte-ing Serpentine”,which will open in Sharma’s Studio later this month. So what was once a lifeless tree on a roadside in Vasant Kunj will be a colossal installation with the dead branches suspended upside down from the ceiling,stuck with thousands of computer keys to create faux branches.

The title of the exhibition comes from another central piece that will occupy the whole room. Innumerable pieces of keyboards and their digital drawings will be stuck together to entwine the whole room like a serpent. “Humanity is in the grip of this serpent,getting twisted with each nanosecond. Junk keyboards are a reminder of how each time a new invention happens,so much becomes obsolete and how we have to deal with this monstrous serpent that has entered our lives,” explains curator Unnati Singh.

While the show bases itself on the perils of technology,the 39-year-old artist refers to the old world too. If the three-dimensional painting titled Chip on the Shoulder — where men ride on horses with intricately painted computer keys and chips — boasts of a miniature feel,another wall will have a large hand-stitched blouse inspired by a ritual where Rajasthani women throw their blouses on a tree after the fulfilment of a wish. “I had visited my village in Rajasthan three years ago and happened to see this ritual outside the village temple. Technology has reached everywhere,but some rituals continue due to sheer simplicity of faith,” says Sharma. In an adjoining room,a video installation will take viewers through the process of stitching a blouse. The interactive work will encourage viewers to throw digital prints of blouses on the tree installation,creating a wish tree.

The exhibition will take place from July 24 to August 24 at Sharma’s Studio,105,behind Sector D-2,Vasant Kunj. Contact: 9717179658

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