You're born, gurgling and pink, bright white light in your eyes for the first time. Beyond the blinds are trees, moving in the wind, lime green and lush. And there's a sky--it rained as you entered--that is spotless except for a mustache of cloud in the corner. You grow up with nature, a kind of raw material for habit. When you move, you act, you transform from one state to another, creating. You create by walking, by waking up and going to sleep. You make, from nature, art.
In between this passage between nature and art is wonder. When you see the first book for the first time, the source of the river, the bubbles around the rim of your first tea. When you shed habit, you look twice, once with our old eyes and then again, anew. You wonder by wondering, and in wondering, you move, having arrived somewhere else.
It is this passage that the issue at hand explores: how wonder is created through travel, physically to break from habit, and by purposefully invoking the otherworldly in the everyday, the potentially mystical in the mundane.
Ismael Sanz-Pena, an artist from Madrid, animates still photographs taken outside museums, arranged and set in motion. Sculptures from Mohenjodaro and the Renaissance break out in dance, making the most of their afterlives. We bring to you a new story format, a mixtape that requires you to play the same two films thrice over, arranged to our varying musical choices, creating, in their repetition and disjunction, a pixellated waltz of their own.
Amit Madheshiya takes portraits of people watching cinema, often for the first time, at the traveling tent cinemas in Maharastra. Their expressions are struck with wonder and awe, with the power of the moving image and the absurdly realistic manner in which their own realities begin watching them.
Sahej Rahal uncovers the Pir Ghaib observatory and wonders how stars might be measured through a tiny hole in a ceiling. He tells us about the absurdity elicited in confusing spaces and their stories, and the truths involved in stepping into multiple personas.
Dub FX, world renowned street performer, tells us about his musical inspirations, his tryst with India and his bond to a flower fairy. Listen to his beats and try and spot them: they come from garbage dumps and wedding bands and people yelling on streets and silent nights lost and OK with it.
And with this, our summer special begins: Simone Dinshaw, a writer and fellow fairy living in Bombay, collaborates as Editor of the ArtZine through the months of torrid heat to bring you stories that will soothe the blisters and loosen our holds on habit.
You spend most of your time struggling to stay in the know, tirelessly searching for solutions, convinced your life will be so much easier if you could just Get It. If you could just be handed a divine cheat sheet with all the answers, so you would always know the right thing to say and what to wear and how to solve all of the world's problems. So you stumble through the maze, trying to make all the right turns, day after day. And then one day, if you're lucky, you'll stumble upon a random installation of art, or a chance performance, or a string of music that ties you to the rest of the world. And for a moment, your mind goes blank. For the first time in your day, it's okay to Not Get It.
Who gets Art anyway? There's no single interpretation, no solution, no red ink justification for checking the right box. It simply is. To know something is to arrive at the end, and the magic is over. Wonder is the space that lies between not knowing and knowing; the savannah, an empty teacup, the sky in winter - choose your own metaphor - that can be filled with anything because there is space.
As artists, we spend too much time focusing on how we inhabit a space, when really, its all about how the space inhabits us. The faculty of wonder makes room in us for awe. To be in awe is to be in love, to be in life, to be in here, to be unshackled of filters and lenses and open, open in the widest sense of the world. It is to be alive and to be strung out among the stars, lost deep in the eye of the night-black sky, where anything is everything.
Imagine the possibilities. Move a little, so you see the place in which you stood from somewhere else. Let Habit holler at someone else.
Himali and Simone.
Every sunbeam, every strain of music, every sapling and starfish is ultimately the regeneration of a previous something, a collection of somethings, taking on new shape. At the most indivisible level we can comprehend, all life is nothing more than atoms and molecules dancing their way through various forms. And if everything comes from something, it stands to reason that everything must go to something as well.Read More