The project brief revolved an artistic response to any catastrophic contemporary issue using print-making as a methodology. How can such a slow, deliberate, and process-dependent method lead one to explore and express their response to the contemporary? How can a traditional medium like printmaking be used to speak with a contemporary art grammar?
One’s world view of doom and despair can be corresponded with the comprehension of apocalyptic events like erratic weather conditions, hurricanes, forest fires, floods, drought, viruses, respiratory diseases, destruction of ecosystems and the evident signs of the sixth mass extinction that , humans have invited to their doorstep as a result of their anthropocentric actions. Urban migration and other actions for economic development have been the cause of humans claiming and over-using resources causing a significant negative impact on the environment. The topic of climate change has been reiterated multiple times in an urban person’s life through education media and art and yet there seems to be a gap between knowledge and behavior. This project aims to explore this gap through stop motion animation made with prints to further reiterate the message of less consumption.
COMPARISON OF MEDIUMS
PRINTMAKING AND ANIMATION
WOOD CUT WITH OIL PAINTS
UNDERSTANDING CLIMATE CHANGE
WORK IN PROGRESS
As seen previously, in the first phase of this project I explored eight print-making techniques to understand which technique would resonate with the idea of climate change and less consumption. Print-making requires chemicals, multiple trials and excessive use of material. The constraint of print making brings out an interesting yet conflicting paradox between this consumption heavy practice and the need to consume less
Artist Study - THEODORE USHEV: He is a fine artist and an animator who used print making as the basis of his animation called Blind Vaysha. The animation is created digital but it attempts to recreate the effects of linocut print making. It is interesting to see print-making as the inspiration behind the medium and I wondered about why he chose such a labour intensive medium. The idea of an animation after viewing this stuck in my head as it best described change according to me.
Images and information from:
https://www.awn.com/animation- world/past-and-future-torment-present-theodore-ushev-s-blind- vaysha
Why Animation and Print-making?
Print-making is considered to be a traditional process and I wanted to find an intersection between traditional and contemporary which would increase the reach of my exploration.
According to me, Print-making highlights impressions of the world from the artist’s point of view through actual impressions of the plate. This connection was almost poetic. I too, wanted to put forth my views and fears with regards to Climate Change and the Coastal communites. After watching Blind Vaysha, I saw how animation would be a good way to reach larger audiences as a very large population now owns smart phones and has access to the internet. My idea of migration resonated with a moving image.
I also wanted to explore the paradox between creation and consumption and understand how to actually be realistic and unapologetic when it comes to consumption. Using a reduction technique with relief print seemed like a viable option for my animation.
In this experiment, I attempted a stop motion animation using a reductive wood cut technique to create prints. I used a circular MDF (Medium Density Fibre) piece to create a plate. The basic idea for this animation was to understand the interaction of colours, and how the reduction technique would work.
8 Frame Storyboard for the animation
Images of Plates - Reduction used to create prints
Sinking City, wood cut print on cartridge paper, size 4 by 4 inches, 8 prints
Animation compiled using Adobe photoshop.
I went back to using MDF as my material to create prints because of it’s relatively less harmful impact on the environment, the aesthetics of the printed outcomes as well as it’s availability in Mumbai where I had to print without the access to a studio space.I chose to work with oil paints for the same reason of accessibility and availability and found that I was not restricted to using only a limited number of colours. The acquiring of material was more economically viable!
MDF Plates, Test prints, Trial Textures created using oil paint instead of printing ink.
View through a window, wood cut print on cartridge paper, size 4 by 4 inches, 3 prints
Artist Prints in layers on Cartridge Paper
Animation compiled using Adobe photoshop.
The devastating string of events starting from the Australian Bush-fires has made me look at Climate Change as a topic which cannot be ignored anymore. Ever since I was a kid, I have been drawn to natural landscapes, especially seascapes as I have grown up in Mumbai, with very close proximity to the beach.
For me, Climate change is topic which I have learnt about since childhood and it is something I have prior knowledge of. Therefore, it seemed fitting to explore climate change by first laying out everything I knew about it, using the brainstorming method suggested by Ideo’s Designkit (https://www.designkit. org/methods/brainstorm) for about 30 mins and laid out all my thoughts related to Climate Change. These have been displayed on the next page.For this project I started off with a simultaneous process which switches between secondary research and research through practice to navigate through a topic as dense as climate change.
My personal inquiry is about how the business hub of India - Mumbai has been fabricated out of the sea, houses over 22 million people and bears the burden of migrator’s dreams of prosperity, their over-consumption and abuse of resources will eventually sink into the same sea. It has been built, torn down and rebuilt over and over again to keep up with development and prosperity and in turn, the residents have caused immense damage to the sea, beaches, public health care, air quality and uprooted local communities – Koli fishermen. The sea was made to recede and land was claimed. However, in this power struggle between the residents and the sea, the shorelines have receded and it seems like the sea will take over this city eventually. Having lived in this coastal city myself, I fear the loss of Mumbai, a home to me and many others.
After getting a basic understanding of Mumbai from the two books as well as articles I mapped out the stakeholders for this inquiry. I planned my first-hand research visits to span over three days – starting from Uttan Beach in the north, going to the southern end in South Bombay and ending in the east at Sewri. I kept a daily journal, took photographs and sketched.
Sketches from Field Visits.
Live Paintings from Field Visits.
An Artist whose work really spoke to me was Gaurav Ogale who creates looped moving images with a handmade aesthetic to them. He has created many such moving images highlighting water bodies, local people and their activities in an unusual manner and has recently collaborated with many artists from the bollywood industry to create audiovisual poetry. By studying his work, I was motivated to alter my own approach to creating A stopmotion animation where I printed each complete frame. Instead, I decided to use the advantages of technology that I had my disposable and create a combination of hand-made and digitally compiled works. This in turn helped me consume lesser material than I had speculated earlier!
The images have been taken from the Artist’s videos found on : http://chaiandillusions.blogspot.com. The information has been diciphered from - https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/gaurav-ogale-audiovisual-project-is-making-audienc- es-see-poetry-differently-6495417/
Amidst the early months of COVID-19 Pandemic I got a chance to watch Wade by Ghost Animation (written and directed by Upamanya Bhattacharya and Kalp Sanghvi), a short film which is about “a version of Kolkata, India rendered unliveable by sea level rise” as the undertone of the narrative displaying the struggle and fight for survival amongst the Climate change refugees and Tigers of the Sundarbans. This 10 min animation made me realise that Climate Change can be taken as the undertone of narratives, the setting of it or even the subject of it like seen in Amitav Ghosh’s Book : The Great Derangement. I also understand how sound can be a very impactful component of an animation and I planned to incorporate that as well.
These images have been taken from the Animation itself which was uploaded on Vimeo in order to raise funds for charities working in times of COVID-19. I also read about the entire process of creating this short film on https://medi- um.com/@wadethefilm/mak- ing-wade-946162912faf
This page highlights the process I followed of layering on Photoshop and then using the Timeline feature to create a stop motion. I have tried to understand the motion of water and how its visual can be accompanied with relevant sounds to create a more engaging experience for the viewers. A sample of the animation is given on the right.
The images on the left show the compilation of all the scenes on Adobe Premier Pro.I have used this Application to include sound scapes as well.
Art in Darkness started off on an intensely explorative note where I tried finding the topic which resonated with my idea of Darkness which prevails in the World. It eventually morphed into a rather jugaad* and reflective practice. While many chose to look at the political upheaval as a response to our immediate situations, I found Climate Change to be a topic which bothered me more. Print-making was the constraint for this project and it was very exciting as well as unfamiliar to try to look at medium as a conceptual tool as well. While exploring print-making techniques and trying to find a parallel between Climate Change and them I came across a very conflicting idea which was a paradox as opposed to the parallel I was seeking. I understood how as artists , we consume a lot of resources to share our world-views. But isn’t it hypocritical to consume resources while presenting the idea of less consumption in order to do our bit for climate change? This question has haunted me throughout the project. It was difficult to come to terms with the fact that this is a paradox we have to live with keeping the larger picture in mind.
Despite having lived in Mumbai all my life, I looked at it from a very privileged perspective. It was because of this project that I got a change to actually explore the entire coastline of Mumbai and understand the city from a new and wider perspective.
I understood the actual area of the city, where it extends till, its past, how it has been built and inturn I can now imagine what the population of migrants and inhabitants is.The biggest challenge that I faced through this project was displacement, a lack of resources and the motivation to work under difficult circumstances due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. During this prolonged and uncertain time I found it difficult to source resources and produce meaningful work. I figured out how to use the resources I had effectively and efficiently to my best abilities and understood how this pandemic actually pushed me to practice what I was trying to preach. I realised that I was still living comfortably at home, in Mumbai, without having to worry about basic necessities. On the other hand, the fisherman community faced a multitude of problems in an already dying business with the lockdown, section 144 imposition, ban of fishing activities and the overarching predicament of survival.
Through this project, I have learnt to be more mindful about my consumption as an artist as well as for my day-to-day activities. I hope to share my animation to residents of Mumbai and other coastal regions in order to induce thoughts about climate change, how it will affect coastlines, how different communities get affected differently, and yet if and when Mumbai submerges into the sea it came from, the loss will be unimaginable.
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