Collaborations are commonplace in the art world, and the organisers behind Karma Yatri Travel and Art (KYTA), an art residency in Kalga, pushed the envelope with their experiment. They curated 10 artists from various disciplines around the world — sculptors, sound artistes, performing artistes and linguists, among others — to produce one art work, in one month. There was no specific theme nor a basic idea given.
The final work is ready in the form of an experimental film that will soon be screened in the city. There is an ethereal quality to the final work which features performing artist Wei Ching-ju from Taiwan, interacting with the various site-specific installations that were created during the residency. “Dreams became the theme for the film and this idea too, was born out of the site,” says Shazeb Arif, co-founder and curator of the festival, “A lot of surreal, ethereal changes kept happening at the venue. The weather would change from sunny and cheery to dark and gloomy. An apple orchard started blooming midway through the residency. It was unanimous that ‘dreams’ should be the theme of the final work.”
The 22-minute long film stitches together the various contributions of the artists. For example, in one part of the film, Wei moves dreamily under a tree which has a 100 ceramic bells which were created by sculptor Emile Degorce from France. Some of these bells were attached with sound sensors that detected Wei’s movement. This music was recorded by sound artistes Alec Schachner from Vietnam, Fernando Viscokis from Brazil and Sanaya Ardeshir aka Sandunes. “I thought the idea was out there. I didn’t know what I would have in common with a ceramic artist. For me, it was about how I approach my creative process,”
While KYTA would not happen in Kalga again, Arif has been getting offers to take the concept to different venues in the country. “It was an experiment, and the human element worked so well, with a family of sorts being forged among the 10 artists. Artistically, there are things that I would like to change as an organiser and I will implement them soon,” he says.