Archive for June, 2022


Monday, June 6th, 2022

Walking down the main street inside the campus of the Film and Television Institute of India, at 1 am, the trees were illuminated by the glows of the pale tube lights. We were recording the sounds of the night and taking pictures of the old buildings that were covered with graffiti. We stopped to have tea at Dilip Bhau’s tea stall where he prepared Maggie noodles for midnight wanderers like ourselves. Suddenly Riku turned and saw something and called out to me to look. The flickering tube light shone on a few words scratched on a black board. On a normal day the board would announce the names of films that were going to be playing that day in the Main Theatre. Perhaps it could have been a film by Istavan Szabo or a film from the Czech New Wave if it were the beginning of spring. Or perhaps Ozu or Ritwik Ghatak or even Eisenstein if a new batch of students had just arrived. But there was no screening that day. We had been on strike for three months already. The board outside had a poem written by an unknown poet:

‘A Night of knowing nothing,
Another one of being sad
No more my love
Give me freedom’

Payal Kapadia was born in Mumbai in 1986. She earned a degree in economics and studied film directing at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. Her short films have screened at numerous film festivals, including Cannes and the Berlinale. Her first feature film A NIGHT OF KNOWING NOTHING was awarded the L’Œil d’or for best documentary at Cannes in 2021.


Monday, June 6th, 2022

I started a dream journal about three years ago. In the morning I would wake up with a certain feeling, a feeling that wasn’t necessarily tied to anxiety or terror, but a residue of something unresolved. I would get frustrated with myself for not knowing why I was feeling the way I did, then I’d suddenly remember my dream in the middle of the day. Despite knowing full well that nobody really cares about other people’s dreams, I couldn’t help but tell my dreams to whomever happened to be around, usually my roommates. I would begin with what I thought was an accurate description of the dream, and at some point I’d catch myself making stuff up, knowingly or unknowingly, adding and omitting details to make the dream into a sensible narrative. I can now see that recounting my dreams was a self-soothing reflex, an attempt to outline the unresolved tensions of the unconscious using the tools of language.

The sensation of recounting my dreams felt very much like that of making art. I found myself trying to make sense of something, and in that process of “making sense”, a lot of things became distorted. In remembering my dreams I felt like I was witnessing myself from a distance, peering into my own psyche from the threshold between my conscious life and the unconscious–I felt as if I had become a foreigner to my own mind. I’m interested in this aspect of dream analysis as it relates to art-making: each requires the ability to observe from the threshold of subjectivity and the courage to stand firmly on that threshold of mystery. What I’m starting to realize is that both dream analysis and art-making are about resisting the urge to fully understand.

Here are some of the entries from my dream diary that I found to be exceptionally hilarious. Time after time I find it amusing that my mind is working very hard (and overtime) to say something very simple, predictable, and ultimately not that interesting. Another part of my dream journaling was jotting down my own analysis and making a quick sketch from what I could remember.

March 28th 2021

I had a dream that I had just opened an exhibition. A stranger came by the gallery, and I pretended not to be the artist of the show. We started talking, and looked at the paintings in the gallery together. The stranger began telling me that he really didn’t like the work. And he kept telling me why he didn’t like the work, and I’m not sure what he said exactly but his comments were all negative. At first I was curious, so I kept our conversation going, asking him more questions and listening to his replies. I remember I wasn’t angry or offended, but intrigued by the stranger. And at some point in our conversation I looked up and saw the paintings on the walls, and I was genuinely horrified by what I saw. The paintings were truly awful. They all sort of had this web art look, like abstract marks all over the canvas but they were made with MS paint scribbles and they had all these overlapping texts, which I couldn’t make out. In the dream it was clear that they were my paintings. I was just in total shock that I had made them and they were on display for everyone to see.

Projecting/displacing my own doubts about my work (figurative/representational) onto artworks that clearly don’t look like mine (abstract/process-based). Coping with my own insecurity because I can only be horrified by works that don’t look like my work–> in denial of my own failure.

March 24th 2020

Just had a dream that I was at my cousin’s wedding in Korea. I don’t remember which cousin it was, it was a generalized idea of “a cousin”. The wedding wasn’t held at a church but the place reminded me of a gym or a convention center, a kind of place I’d associate with bible camps I used to go to as a kid. As part of the wedding celebration, my cousin started playing his guitar and it felt like he was singing a gospel. All the guests were now sitting on the floor, in a circle, and they were singing along, clapping, crying, swaying, speaking in tongues, almost like the over-the-top evangelical services I would see on television. People in the dream were all very ecstatic. I looked around the crowd and at first I felt really embarrassed for them. And then later I thought to myself, in the dream, that I wished I had their conviction and their ability to feel this religious joy, which is God’s love, and not be ashamed by it. I looked at the people with a kind of awe. Then I woke up.

Desire and repulsion towards the past. Anxiety about conformity, longing for a communal/group identity. Nostalgia for Korea.

September 26th 2019

I had a dream that I was in a mansion with my family, a place similar to one of those gilded age Newport mansions. The mansion was gaudy and excessive, but was also beautiful in a strange way, filled with antiques etc. The context of the dream was that we were invited to live there with some important people. The people at the mansion were dressed in Victorian gowns and acted very properly and sort of robotically. There was a super old woman in a wheelchair, who seemed to be the head of the household. Everyone followed her around and people tended to her needs.

Far into the dream I realized that I can perform some kind of magic, one of those mind-command type psychic powers. For example, I could think “move that vase” in my head and the vase would float in the air, and I could move it around in the space with the tip of my finger. I was really excited to have this magical ability, and in the dream it was understood that this magic could only be performed within the confines of the mansion.

It was like a scene from Matilda. I was playing around in the mansion, moving objects around in the air, rearranging them in different rooms, when suddenly my dad whispered in my ear: “Look carefully. You think you are moving those things, but they are exactly where they had been. You didn’t do anything.” I was so surprised, but it was true. All of the objects that seemed to be floating in the air sort of disappeared and reappeared where they were originally. I was super confused at first but we somehow figured out that the people in the mansion have been putting hallucinogens in our drinking water. So I told my dad that we must not be fooled or seduced by the magical apparitions that were happening around us. Then my dad challenged me, telling me how we can’t really decipher what was real or an illusion, how we don’t actually know if we are hallucinating or we just think we are. Like, how could we know that we didn’t just make up the fact that there were hallucinogens in the water, and that our drinking water was actually fine, and that I could really perform magic? And I just remember feeling super frustrated and almost manic, because I couldn’t answer him. I think after a bit of arguing I yelled at him something like “There is a way! We must try!!” Something very melodramatic like that.

Sometime later we had to go find my brother and my mom, to tell them that we had to get out of this place, but during the search around the mansion we stumbled upon a secret room, where we found all of the mansion people performing some sort of an operation on the old woman (the head of the household in a wheelchair). We found out that the old woman was actually dead, but the people in the mansion were able to swap out her organs to make her corpse look fresh and alive. We realized that she had been dead the whole time, and that because of the water we’ve been drinking, we hallucinated that she was alive, and that the mansion people were actively taking hallucinogens so that they could lie to themselves and see her as being alive.

After learning about this, my dad and I kept trying to find my brother and my mother, and the mansion people realized that we knew what was going on, so they chased us with guns. We somehow got out of the mansion, and there were gunshots and bombings in the background, and my dream sort of stopped there.

Anxiety and paranoia about assimilation. Aspirational wasp-ness as self induced spell. Dad as a philosophical guide who challenges my ego.

Cindy Ji Hye Kim was born in Incheon, South Korea, in 1990. She received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 and her M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art in 2016. Recent solo exhibitions include: Casey Kaplan, New York (2022); Francois Ghebaly, Los Angeles (2021); MIT List Visual Art Center, Cambridge (2020); Helena Anrather and Foxy Production, New York (2019); and Interstate Projects, Brooklyn (2018). Kim’s work has been featured in ArtForum, Art in America, ArtAsiaPacific, Bomb Magazine, Brooklyn Rail, Cultured Magazine, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. Her work is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Collection Majudia, Montreal; Sifang Art Museum, China; and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence. She currently lives and works in New York City.


Monday, June 6th, 2022

Has anyone ever asked Martin Scorsese what the flower budget was for The Age of Innocence? Or Stephen Daldry, for The Hours? The way Meryl Streep’s character, Clarissa, sails into a West Village flower shop on a cold winter morning, looking especially purposeful in blue jeans and her hair half up. The way she dips her sunglasses and reasons that lilies are “too morbid” but hydrangeas are exactly right. The way she insists on ordering “buckets of roses.” How she says “buckets of roses” in that arranged, typically Streep depiction of joy, smiling not just with her eyes, but with an intelligence for her face and its tapered eloquence.

And as if those buckets weren’t enough, Meryl scoops up the florist’s entire morning delivery of ranunculus right before she exits the flower shop. It’s a movie-amount of ranunculus, there’s no other way to measure it. Wrapped in brown paper, the flowers look like a giant cannoli. This image of Streep standing beside snow banks is like a Jane Freilicher painting, or maybe, more accurately, this image of Streep is what anticipates a Freilicher painting, before the flowers are brought inside and placed on a windowsill that faces downtown.

Everyone feels like they are in a movie when they return home with flowers. Everyone hopes to be seen crossing the street, holding a bouquet. Everyone looks like they’re running late—even if they’re right on time—when crossing the street, holding a bouquet. Everyone has only one friend who arrives on time, and with flowers. That same friend remains the light version of a mystery; she is known to you, intimately, but at a considered distance, too. Few have seen the inside of her home. When she shares photos, it’s always the same chair or flowers in a vase. This friend possesses an imagination compelled by control. She is intense, but no one would know it, or describe her as such. Awareness and showing up on time (with flowers) are both intense qualities that are explained instead as “reliable,” but being reliable is, actually, really intense. Being thoughtful is actually really intense. Everyone has a friend like this who has spent most of her friendship with you dodging the question, “How are things?” She is also the friend who taught you about carnations, how they last the longest, sometimes two, even three weeks. Everyone has a friend like this, who teaches you which flowers last longest for the price and who knows which drugstore lotion does the trick just fine. She’s also the friend who organizes the group gift. She remembers everyone’s birthdays. She arrives on time with a bouquet. She has a really good trench coat; smart, not too long, perfect with an ankle. She bought it because she saw one, just like it, in a movie. And it’s nice to arrive places and receive a compliment, and have a line ready about—not life, nor your commute—but a movie.

Speaking of movies and flowers. Apparently, Hitchcock chose Podesta Baldocchi—the flower shop in Vertigo near Union Station, besieged with gladiolas and pink roses—because he liked the Italian tiled floor. That’s a nice thought: to bet on flooring when the main event was flowers, or Kim Novak. Her two-piece grey suit. Her stillness, her spiraled coif. Her strange aspect. The way she sucks you in and lingers in the air like a perfume you’ve only encountered once in your life. It’s a performance that comes with the Italian tiled floor, because Hitchcock knew to film her full-length among the flowers; her stems among those stems. And that grey suit—how Hitchcock invented a world where flowers in big, beautiful bloom are expected to compete with, of all things, the color grey.

Durga Chew-Bose is a writer and editor. Her first book of essays TOO MUCH AND NOT THE MOOD (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) was published in 2017.


Monday, June 6th, 2022

I have been snapping from my kitchen window since a while, well actually from all the windows. I guess the last few years I am spending more time in the kitchen.

‘Oh yes, suddenly I realised what a good thing death can be, how just and fair, like a disinfectant, or a vacuum cleaner.’ Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Olga Tokarczuk

Banu Cennetoğlu is an Istanbul-based artist engaged in a wide range of cross-disciplinary practices. Her practice incorporates methods of archiving in order to question and challenge the politics of memory, as well as the production, distribution and consumption of information. Cennetoğlu had solo exhibitions at institutions including K21 Ständehaus, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; Sculpture Center, New York; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Bonner Kunstverein; Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest; Kunsthalle Basel. She has participated in the Berlin, Istanbul, Liverpool, Gwangju, Athens and Venice Biennials, as well as Manifesta 8 and documenta14. She is the founder of BAS, an, artist-run space in Istanbul dedicated to artists’ books and printed matter.


Monday, June 6th, 2022


At that time, perhaps in my own naivety, a beautiful naivety that I lost somewhere along the way, the question of honesty stopped me. It wasn’t the kind of honesty that photography has forever been burdened with: that unrealistic expectation of being representative of some sort of truth that for some inexplicable reason we continue to mark photography with, instead, ‘honesty’ that mattered to me at the time was one where my work felt aligned with the intent with which I made it. It was about having a position from where I could take responsibility for my work. ‘Life is Elsewhere’ was intended to be a journal but towards the end of it, I had begun to realize that I recognized how to make photographs to perform a particular act and to invoke in the viewer a desired reaction. If that was the case, then was I starting to perform for the camera as well? Was I unconsciously or even consciously trying to use a certain kind of photography to protect myself from points of vulnerability? In that case was my work ever real? You see… For someone who had to teach himself everything from scratch and more importantly for someone who had barely found his feet in this world in general, there could be nothing worse than an onset of doubt whose depths seem to swallow him in its flow.

Around then I had started to work with children and I was charmed by the way they moved with the camera: Carefree, raw, and unconscious of the baggage that came with being a photographer. Awkwardly unabashed in the physicality of their movement with the camera and approach to whatever and whoever they photographed, it made me realize the stiffness in the formality, or more precisely, in the consciousness of my own process. Today this very idea of the physicality of movement turns to an important push in my approach. It helps me to slow or fasten the pace of the material I create for my work, I can now willingly be more aggressive or tender or even indifferent in the way I photograph. How I weave in and out elements like pace, distance, time, pitch and intensity in my work matters to me over the starting point of form, even if the use of the latter is at times indispensable for me to achieve my objective, whatever that may be. It is this malleability of photography, not only in my perception of it as a viewer but also in my usage of it as a creator, that forms the skeleton upon which the flesh of my work is laid. Back then it had started to become clear that I had to unlearn everything I knew and in fact I had to let go of being a photographer altogether and the acceptance of that initiated the beginning of the work ‘Look It’s Getting Sunny Outside!!!’ I couldn’t be surer that, the distance that existed between myself and my home, my mother and Elsa, all of whom I had photographed at the time of ‘Life is Elsewhere’, now needed to be removed or at least reduced. Think of it as a scab on your knee that you keep picking on. You keep peeling off different layers of brown, then pink and then ultimately it starts to turns more and more red and beautiful with the peeling of each layer. It can be painful along the way but it’s also a bit obsessive. Hitting that sweet spot of red is what I needed to do.

(An excerpt from A PROPOSITION FOR DEPARTURE, 2017)

Photos by Lomrong, Borit, Pengly, Rattanak, Rattana, Amphai, Phanna, Preuk, Kimmuoy, Srepech, Mony, Sovann, Sokchan, K-Sok Chea, Champai, Karona, Sreylane, Tokay, Sokly & Odam

This is a tiny glimpse of the magic archive of Anjali House photo workshops… The children’s photography workshops as part of the Angkor Photo Festival around 2006. The photography workshops were started to introduce extra-curricular activities for the students at Anjali House who were mostly between the ages of 10 and 16 years. I started teaching in the children’s workshop in 2008 (I was a student myself at the main Angkor Photo Workshops the year earlier in 2007) and I continued on as the coordinator of the workshop for many years thereafter. The thing is that I was never the one ‘teaching’ but instead thanks to the kids I ended up seeing the world in the most beautiful way. Being part of these workshops is perhaps one of the best things to have happened to the way I started to see the world. These workshops are still run every year and in fact now so much more is part of the class curriculum through-out the year. You can have a look at their website to see what they are up to. They are always looking for support.

Anjali House is a locally-run Cambodian NGO based in Siem Reap, supporting vulnerable children through education, scholarships, and community engagement.

Sohrab Hura was born in 1981, in Chinsurah, West Bengal, India. He is a photographer and filmmaker. His work lies at the intersection of Film, Photographs, Sound and Text. By constantly experimenting with form and using a journal like approach, many of his works attempt to question a constantly shifting world and his own place within it. Some of his recent solo and group exhibitions include SPILL (Huis Marseille voor Fotografie, 2021), THE COAST (Liverpool Biennial 2021), VIDEONALE (Kunstmuseum Bonn 2021, 2019), SPILL (Experimenter, India 2020), COMPANION PIECES: NEW PHOTOGRAPHY (The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2020), HOMELANDS: ART FROM BANGLADESH, INDIA, AND PAKISTAN (Kettle’s Yard, 2019), THE LEVEE: A PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH (Cincinnati Art Museum, 2019). His films have been widely shown in international film festivals. THE COAST (2020) premiered at Berlinale 2021 while BITTERSWEET (2019) was awarded the Principal Prize of the International Jury at the 66th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2020. THE LOST HEAD & THE BIRD (2017) had previously won the NRW Award at the 64th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2018. Sohrab Hura has self-published five books under the imprint UGLY DOG. His book THE COAST (2019) won The Aperture – Paris Photo PhotoBook of the Year Award 2019 and LOOK IT’S GETTING SUNNY OUTSIDE!!! was shortlisted for the same award in 2018. The exhibition GROWING LIKE A TREE (2021) opened in January 2021 at Ishara Art Foundation marking his inaugural curatorial project. The second iteration of this curated exhibition titled STATIC IN THE AIR opened at Ishara Art Foundation, Dubai over six slow transformations in September 2021. His work can be found in the permanent collections of MoMA (New York), Ishara Art Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum and other private and public collections. Hura lives and works in New Delhi, India.