Entretien avec Nandita Kumar, Artiste (juin 2015)

Entretien avec Nandita Kumar, Artiste (juin 2015)

MF : I have recently discover your works “eLEmeNT : EaRTh”, “hEliOpHiLic obSeRVatOry", and “pOLymORpHic hUMansCApE”, which are “autonomous artificial (eco)systems”1New media art, Nandita Kumar interview, Neural n°49, Automne 2014, p.40. combining glass containers and “functional and non-functional PCB boards, micro solar panels, light sensors and various electronic”, talking about “urban spaces, environments, and energy”2Idem.. Really interesting, relevant, in all the dimensions, and beautiful. These diorama, micro interactive landscapes, biotopes, ecosystems, beyond their organic, surrealistic, scientific, alchemical, poetry-of-electronic appearance, creates affects, but also raises important problems. Moreover, these works correspond to our study “thinking the relationship between glass and new technologies in the expanded creation at the digital age” (glass artists, contemporary artists using glass in, design, makers, but also artists who are at the intersection of different fields, art, science, engineering, crafts, etc.). As I have ever said we are currently in the first stage of the project. During this first phase, we are looking for creations and artists, we are trying to do the list of these new technologies, practices and uses, we are following the tracks, we’re making interviews, we are collecting datas, we are listing the different problematics. The idea is to observe what happens when glass and new technologies are combined (aesthetic, artistic, poetic, plastic, symbolic, critic dimensions) and to make appear a first factual panorama of what exists (descriptions and brief analysis). It’s why I have chosen to invite you to participate. I’d like to ask you some general questions, and some more specific one. To begin, I want to ask you a simple question : Why are you working with “new technologies”, and which new technologies you use, or vice-versa, which and why ?

NK : To think about technology is to think about the future. It is, unavoidably, to speculate and to predict, to imagine how new tools, new methods, and new powers might affect our lives. Living in between Mumbai and Auckland, two dichotomous human ecologies has led me to be interested in technology and its effect on cities and humans. A " storm" of new technologies is fundamentally transforming industry, society and the lives of people in cities and around the world. Due to rapid changes multitudes of issues are arising in relation to social behaviour patterns among humans and ecological issues. By creatively investigating and exploring technology, my work helps us to imaginatively experience and critically reflect on the implications of technology. Through my installations, which seamlessly integrate new media and materiality, I envision creative work that propels individuals towards progressive consciousness by connecting the self, body, community and ecology. In order to construct meaningful experiences for the viewer, I create sensory narratives through the usage of sound, video/animation, performance, smartphone apps, hacked plotter, customized motherboards, sensors, Solar cells etc.

MF : If I’m not wrong, you don’t transform glass. You use it sometimes. I suppose that you use it for different reasons, could you explain us why this choose of glass, and the combination with new technologies? Could you tell us more about these wonderful projects with glass?

NK : The mixing of glass and technologies offers poetic symbolism, future possibilities but also reflects the fragility of our ecosystems. The role of glass has evolved conceptually the more I have worked with it. Initially it was an enclosure for these utopic worlds, a message in a bottle perhaps or it could be a utopic/dystopic reality in our future.   In its practicality it also protects its delicate ecology from the intense pollution of India. Further on, I discovered during the process of glass lathe the human hands while molding the glass tubes into the shape of a bottle leave invisible lines on the surface which is called technically “ carbon imprinting.” This further added layers to my work, which work on environmental concerns. Impressions of these lines can be seen in shadows overcast by the bottle (please see image attached). Further on, I envision the glass bottles/enclosures in the future work as a solar panel. I feel when the transparent solar dye technology for windows when developed would enable me to use the surface area to charge the inner workings of the ecosystem that lie inside the glass.

In the glass encasements all my varied interests such as film, animation, electronics, printing, interactivity, collaboration, sound and engagement with the community, are coming together into one cohesive language. The introduction of interactivity and the story telling which lies in the technology of each art piece, engage a wide audience of different age groups. Conceptually, in my installations, I am seeking a new interpretation of the basic elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. For example : “eLEmeNT : EaRTh” is inspired by the scientific concepts of bio-mimicry which visualises a future where nature and technology are in synch. When exposed to light the sensor activates sound of the earth. While “pOLymORpHic hUMansCApE” highlight the effects of urbanisation through video interactivity and bring the viewer to reflect on how urban design affects human consciousness.  While “hEliOpHiLic obSeRVatOry" is an ode to the Sun inside Edison’s first patented light bulb. This is an interactive sound installation, has the option of being powered by solar energy. The sound changes with the indentation of sunlight and simultaneously responds to human movement. I intend to use different sounds and wave files to connect with the viewer, to intuitively propel the public’s imagination towards the sun as a source of sustainable energy. By seamlessly integrate new media and materiality; I want to further investigate different ways of connecting the self, body, community and ecology in varied combinations and permutations.

Photo : Nandita Kumar, pOLymORpHic hUMansCApE, Copper, Acrylic, PCB components, Raspberry Pi, Sensor, LCD
Contains 2 videos which are time lapsed and stop motion technique is used.
Programmer: Sajal Nagwanshi