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To directly map my rootlessness, to make it visual, I began by making a video loop titled, “all the places i called home” (Fig 9) in December 20191. In this loop, a virtual camera rotates over aerial documentation of all the places I have called home. The camera pans around neighbourhoods I’ve called home. Each shot is layered on top of another. The layer in the foreground center is my current home, Rotterdam. The layer in the outermost corner is Bangalore, India, where I was born. The footage in the video comes from GoogleEarth’s satellite images. But for me, these images were not just about rendering geographic coordinates, they were places where I had once belonged. As I keep moving to other places, this loop will gradually expand. This video is my attempt at visually articulating my identity, my rootlessness as an ongoing process.
Caressing a Forest in my Palms
Meditating on the legacy of places we inherit as home, a Khasi voice whispers to a burnt leaf. A solid yet fragile piece of charcoal. Leaf as a metaphor for a forest. In the past, ancestors and spirits dwelt here. In the present, there are echoes of a lost past. The leaf was collected from an ancestral forest. A forest that is severely deforested, exploited, burnt, dug up, and no longer ancestral. The artist chooses to directly address what is now left behind, a burnt leaf.
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