Monday, 25 August 2014

Good old books versus e books

 I am an avid reader. I like books more than anything in my life. I don't consider books as non living things, instead I consider them as my friends, who don't talk behind your back or back stab you. I can share my melancholic moments with them, my happiest moments with them, no matter what, I can share with them. They are silent listeners and aggressive advisers. They enhance and expand the horizons of my mind like no other thing.

"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul" - Joyee Carol Oates.

There cannot be a better description than the above quote. Why I am writing this post is that I heard a news that in one of the University authorities where I studied before are planning to implement a law which fines the students for not going to library and read the books kept there. Well, the Library is pretty old with dusty interiors and nothing modern to brag about. There are old and new books, but the physical facilities are limited. There erupted a loud cry against this controversial law and during the deliberations, there were some views that the library should be closed down as this is the era of e-books and nobody no longer reads a book going to a library.

I beg to differ to this opinion. It is my firm belief that there are people who still loves to go to a library, roam around the dusty interiors, searching a dust mite infested book among the heaps of books in the book rack. The happiness you feel, the relief you feel when you finally grab the book you were looking for, is immense. It is an experience e-books can never replicate. 

E-book cannot really replicate the feel of turning the pages of a physical book, laying in your cozy little room, during a rainy season enjoying the drizzle and a cup of green tea in your couch. You can hold you  apple i-pad or notebook and read e-book and it is absolutely comfortable in that they can be carried anywhere. But did you really get that feel, the characters of the book really floating around you and conversing with you when you are reading a horror novel, I am doubtful. Both have their own merits and demerits. You can choose which one do you want, but closing a library is not the right thing to do and so is inflicting a fine for inculcating reading habit. Both are wrong. Instead the authorities should think of renovating the library into an appealing abode for the good old books. What is you take?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Art that craves your attention - Aparna Rao

This is an engaging TED talk ("The art that craves your attention") by Indian artist/designer Aparna Rao, about her recent works on cartoons that respond to the viewers emotions and mood.......wonderfully cool. For hearing the complete video of the talk please click the embedded video below or click this link.

A little bit about her, she is a part of the artist duo "Pors & Rao" specializes in interactive installations with electro-mechanical systems. The description about their art is fairly complex like "a personal exploration of subtle unconscious patterns and limitations that influence our behaviors and relationships; and the applied fiction or imaginative logic that makes them seem logical. The resulting work can be idiosyncratic, but still logical on its own terms.”The artist duo, Aparna Rao (India) and Søren Pors, (Denmark)


In this talk ("The art that craves your attention"), she convincingly simplifies the concepts.

Her art is dynamic, edgy and innovative. Like the ones below. Hear from the artist's own words about the installations (From another TED speech of hers " High Tech art with Sense of humour").

Uncle phone


" It was inspired by my uncle's peculiar habit of constantly asking me to do things for him, almost like I were an extension of his body -- to turn on the lights or to bring him a glass of water, a pack of cigarettes. And as I grew up, it became worse and worse, And I started to think of it as a form of control. But of course, I could never say anything, because the uncle is a respected figure in the Indian family. And the situation that irked me and mystified me the most was his use of a landline telephone. He would hold on to the receiver and expect me to dial a number for him. And so as a response and as a gift to my uncle, I made him "The Uncle Phone." It's so long that it requires two people to use it. It's exactly the way my uncle uses a phone that's designed for one person".

Sun Shadow

"This is a work called "The Sun Shadow." And it was almost like a sheet of paper, like a cutout of a childlike drawing of an oil spill or a sun. And from the front, this object appeared to be very strong and robust, and from the side, it almost seemed very weak. So people would walking into the room and they'd almost ignore it, thinking it was some crap laying around. But as soon as they passed by, it would start to climb up the wall in jerky fashion. And it would get exhausted, and it would collapse every time".

Upside down man 
"This work is a caricature of an upside-down man. His head is so heavy, full of heavy thoughts, that it's sort of fallen into his hat, and his body's grown out of him almost like a plant. Well what he does is he moves around in a very drunken fashion on his head in a very unpredictable and extremely slow movement. And it's kind of constrained by that circle. Because if that circle weren't there, and the floor was very even, it would start to wander about in the space. And there's no wires. So I'll just show you an instance -- so when people enter the room, it activates this object. And it very slowly, over a few minutes, sort of painfully goes up, and then it gains momentum and it looks like it's almost about to fall. And this is an important moment, because we wanted to instill in the viewer an instinct to almost go and help, or save the subject. But it doesn't really need it, because it, again, sort of manages to pull itself up".

The pygmies
"The "Pygmies" was a sound-sensitive installation that we affectionately call "The Pygmies." And we wanted to work with a notion of being surrounded by a tribe of very shy, sensitive and sweet creatures. So how it works is we have these panels, which we have on the wall, and behind them, we have these little creatures which hide. And as soon as it's silent, they sort of creep out. And if it's even more silent, they stretch their necks out. And at the slightest sound, they hide back again".  

"we worked very hard to make them as lifelike as possible. So each pygmy has its own behavior, psyche, mood swings, personalities and so on. So this is a very early prototype. Of course, it got much better after that. And we made them react to people, but we found that people were being quite playful and childlike with them".

For reading more on the art works go to the TED speech Transcript.

If you are interested to read more about their art, check out Deepa Bhasthi's blog.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Pink Dreams - the magnificient works of gay artist Jim Ferringer

The allegorical and alluring digital photographs of openly gay artist, Jim Ferringer, celebrate male body and male nudity. Some may label the works as pornography, but they are a far cry from pornography, rather come close to the magnificent paintings of Renaissance masters.   

He states in his blog, "I am fascinated and in love with light. It’s what draws me to the art of photography and what I strive to capture in my imagery. To me the art of manipulated photographs is the ability to see and paint with light and combined images. Through the manipulation of images and the overlaying of textures, most of my work ends up looking like paintings. I am captivated by the beauty of men, all men, and have embarked on a journey to explore that in my current imagery. These manipulated photos explore the world of the beauty of the male body and soul. My work is a reflection of my thoughts as I make sense of the world around me. They are my notes as I navigate through. They are part of a process of a releasing of my sense of self and finding what is beyond my limited thoughts. To me, there is something about the beauty of the human figure which stimulates contemplation of life’s deepest mysteries and stories".

I have included some of his works in this post. Some time later, I will post the excerpts of an e-mail interview with him. He was very open minded and gave frank answers to my questions related to the struggles of being gay, male nudity and his art. It was really wonderful to connect with him and I cherish the opportunity to cross paths with such a genuine soul.

a fine balance
boy in venice

Listen to what Ferringer has to say about how he creates such dreamy montages,

“I would describe my work as manipulated figurative photography. All work is created with a Nikon D60 and an iMac with Photoshop CS6. My goal is a contemporary photograph with a reference to painting, history and environment. Light, shadow and color all build stories around the male figure. I try to bring to my photography some of the qualities that Carravagio, Jacques-Louis David, Anthony van Dyck and others brought to their paintings. It is important that my art have a sense of history and mystery”. 

an indulgence of 100 days

black shaman

For more details and to see his amazing opuses, visit the below mentioned links,

Please bear in mind that some photographs show explicit male nudity.