In the last two decades, digital technology has not only changed the way we work but also the way we think. A group of young artists has come together to explore this change — both good and bad — where technology has transformed human behaviour, with devices such as smartphones practically become an extension of
The exhibition titled “The Future Is Here” includes nine room-sized interactive installations.
Conceptualised by Sunaina Kejriwal, director of Kamalnayan Art Gallery, Nariman Point, and art historian and curator Arshiya Lokhandwala, the exhibition has millennial artists displaying their work. The participants include Azra Bhagat, Romicon Revola, Maripelly Praveen, Payal Arya, Sultana Zana, Nisha Rachel Phillip, Ayesha Singh, Amay Kataria, Yaazd Contractor and Rudradaman Singh. The works include playful and interactive games, real-time sensors, robot-navigated yoga sessions, emoji mash-ups and bar-codes that can be scanned to get further information on an artwork. “This exhibition speaks about the good and bad aspects of technology and how, even though we cannot really escape it, we must use it responsibly,” says Lokhandwala. “We invited millennial artists to participate since they are the ones who grew up with technology,” she adds.
Phillip, 28, who has worked on a digital graphic novel titled Digi Plays Power, says, “My work is divided into two parts — one speaks about the Blue Whale challenge and the other about a person trapped in cyberspace.” The first-person narrative in the graphic novel uses the medium of storytelling with digitally-illustrated visuals juxtaposed with texts, in an attempt to communicate how minds work. “The two stories are a metaphor for how minds are manipulated within the digital space, and illustrate how power is exercised within an interlinked virtual structure,” adds Phillip. The Blue Whale Challenge is a social media phenomenon where a group of administrators gives a participant a task to complete daily — for a period of 50 days — the last of which is suicide.
Mumbai-based Bhagat has created Emote, an emoji-based artwork that looks at how images often replace text in messages. “There is an interactive screen where one can combine two emojis and be surprised. For example, if you combine the love- struck and puke emoji, you’ll get one that displays ‘love-sick’,” she says.
Singh, 28, who has designed a virtual reality installation, says that users of personal electronic devices, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, should be wary. “We must be aware that these devices are constantly listening to what we are speaking and that information can be misused. We need to be more cautious while using them,” says she.
Kejriwal believes that artworks like these help us better understand the rapidity with which technology has transformed the way we live. “I have just started using Instagram after my elder son helped me. The new innovations are coming our way at such a fast pace that it is often hard to keep up,” she says.
The exhibition is on till March 31 at the Kamalnayan Art Gallery, Nariman Point, Mumbai