Pooja Iranna: Swas
10 October 2010
At ARTCELEBRATES2010,(Lalit Kala Akademi) the video that stands out for its iconic intensity is Pooja Iranna’s ‘Swas’. Pooja is a part of the Art Alive presentation.This video is a single channel video, 3.45 min long and Pooja says she entitled it ‘Swas’ because she wants to draw attention to the thought of a building breathing. The images of the building with its grid like patterns become a riveting resonance of sorts.
‘This is a single building breathing,’ says Pooja . ’I wanted it to draw our attention towards the spaces we live in and create. These are alive and breathing just like us. They might be standing mute for some but they are there and carry vibrations which we usually are ignorant of.’ Pooja works with photographs that she has taken, on many travels, and architecture becomes a moot point of her commentary .
Intriguing perhaps is the truth of the fact that the landscape becomes subsumed within an architecture that is hypermodern and is already the voluntary accomplice of media legend and surveillance regimes. Instead of the beauty of a sky, she scrutinizes a skyscraper; in the past she would care little of the flow of a river, and instead give us a bridge; and as viewers, when we try and map our position, with respect to her vision, we see only an ambient darkness, that perhaps brims on the fear of exploitation. In the Photoshopped images of built form shot in the USA or Singapore, or Korea, she takes the structures riffs and repeats their identity to create a false perspective that invites us in and captures our gaze and minds. In this case it as if she has folded geometric patterns to form mirages, to orient the viewer , into her own space of thought.
What Iranna develops in the course of these exercises is not the commemoration of structure so much as the deepening of bhava, a mood that eludes precise verbal explanation while yet generating unmistakable sensuous response. Her works convey a spectrum of emotional temperatures, ranging from the fragile to the tough, the auratic sensation of beyondness to the quotidian awareness of light and darkness. In a melting black backdrop, a building floats like a bejewelled lantern, the faint presence of a crane suggesting the ongoing nature of her signature of ‘construction’ activity.
In an interview a few years ago Pooja said: “I have always liked treating my material differently, taking on the challenge of its unpredictability while working. For me seeking my own language has always been a struggle and continues to be. Initially I start off with many sketches that are basic drawings of nature and structures that I respond to. With the rudimentaries in place, it proceeds rather intuitively within self imposed restrictions.”