Keep off the Grass

Behind a see-though black curtain,in a room of the arts organisation Khoj,lies an intriguing piece of art.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Published: June 17, 2012 2:07 am

Behind a see-though black curtain,in a room of the arts organisation Khoj,lies an intriguing piece of art. Made with poles and what looked like bristles of broomsticks,the giant structure occupies the entire area. It was sweltering inside the room on Friday evening,but three men creating this work didn’t stop even for a chat. A close look revealed that the broomstick bristles were a kind of grass called Sarkhanda. “It’s found all around Delhi,it’s used to make kulfi sticks”,said Asim Waqif,the creator of the untitled artwork.

Sweating profusely,Waqif studiously joined one blade of Sarkhanda with another,using rubber bands and toothpicks. Soon,the entire mass of grass roofed over a square structure made of the poles. At the centre,in the small square formed by the poles,sat two sound engineers,working on a laptop. A wide array of sounds — from soft to screechy — erupted in the room through the evening. A part of the “Khoj [ReBuilding Project” series,this experimental work is a collaboration between Waqif,an artist,sound duo Sin;drome and electronic design company 9 Circuits. Their brief was to “activate a space in terms of audio and sound.”

Visitors milled around watching the work take shape for three hours. By 10 pm,the installation had become so huge that the artists had to break it to get out of the room. Waqif,well-known for using various mediums and creating complex artwork,refused to share the theme of the work,or what motivated him to create it. “We don’t explain what our work is,this is the only way people will be forced to open their minds and think without any preconceived notions,” he said.

A few visitors said the artwork made them a little more aware about Sarkhanda,while others carried away memories of the music. In a room across the installation,a representative of 9 Circuits sat at his computer,projector and webcam,and every time someone crossed the room,the feedback would create a new sound.

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