Smart Art

At the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018, Afrah Shafiq depicted the lives of women in her quintessential manner.

Published: 18th September 2021 07:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2021 07:59 AM   |  A+A-

) ‘Sultana’s Reality’ by Afrah Shafiq

Express News Service

At the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018, Afrah Shafiq depicted the lives of women in her quintessential manner. The then 29-year-old Goa-based multimedia artist with her works ‘st.itch’ and ‘Sultana’s Reality’ explored lives of women across geographies and time zones. The artist used video, QR codes, archival images, GIFs and more, to show Victorian and Indian women. Shafiq mixed technology with art long before the pandemic — which forced everyone to embrace the idea of virtual art — struck. That is why she is one of the best to talk about the role of technology in art as part of Kiran Nadar Museum of Art’s (KNMA) latest series titled ‘Art x Technology’.

There was a time when art was ‘a thing of beauty’ only to be experienced at specific spaces. Art connoisseurs would wait to visit their favourite galleries for artists to exhibit. If the collectors had deep pockets, the piece would find a space in their houses. A lot, of course, has changed now. Art has come out from the shackles of confined spaces and has entered the lives of art lovers — all it takes is the click of a smart phone to view or create it. The pandemic has bridged this gap further, and made art accessible virtually.

It is this synchrony between art and technology that KNMA’s latest series aims to discover. The series talks about common ground where the two meet. Explains KNMA founder Kiran Nadar, “Our ‘Art X’ series focuses on exploring the intersection of art with different spheres of life and work. ‘Art X Technology’ is an obvious choice as nowadays, our lifestyle rests upon the swift uptake of technology. There are so many parallels that can be drawn between the two spheres, and the series aims to explore this similarity and engage with the narrative of technology in a creative manner.”

The series, which is available on KNMA’s social media channels, kicked off on Sunday. KNMA talks to artists who have been experimenting with various forms of digital art. The artists include Mithu Sen, Hitesh Kumar of Delhi-based Splat Studios, Afrah Shafiq, Visioni Eccentriche, Sahej Rahal, and Deepanjana Klein. Over the years, these artists have honed their practice with the infusion of technology and continue to explore how technology is also a new-age defining art movement.

With poignant conversations with these talented artists, this series shows how art is moving away from dependence on old-school influences of art galleries, museums, and critics. It explores how, with the help of technology, the world of art transforms into a dynamic experience where people are able to explore art in a new, immersive manner. Participating artist Hitesh Kumar, who is the MD and Creative Director of Splat Studio, agrees, “For the first time, technology is enabling an observer to become an integral part of the artwork itself. It is important to explore this intersection as our uptake with digitisation. This series has provided a platform for exactly that.” Splat Studio has been using interactive machinery, play of light, 3D illusions, and visual effects to create films, documentaries, and motion graphics for their clients. Kumar is passionate to be part of KNMA’s series that delves deeper into the world of creativity mixed with technology.

Shafiq, too, is stoked to be part of this series, which is close to her heart. She says, “I am interested in exploring the link between art, culture, and technology, and how the nature of technology influences our reality. This series is timely as our interaction with the digital world is only increasing as the pandemic continues across the world.”


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