Pravu Mazumdar

Pravu Mazumdar

Curatorial Question

1. WHAT IS AN OBJECT?
If the world is said to be populated by things, an object can be defined as a thing that positions itself within the anthropomorphic sphere of knowledge, imagination, desire, wilful action. In this sense all artefacts like buildings, trousers, melodies, billboards, dumplings, paintings, streets, texts, tastes, dreams, clones, strategies etc. are objects from their very inception. But
there is a second category of things. These are the class of non-artefactual things like pebbles, centipedes, iron ore, DNA fragments, sea water, bird songs, twigs, tiger claws, rock salt, light from a distant star, fresh air, the repetitions that occur in tides and furrowed sand. These things can become objects when they are captured, replicated, remodelled and made to
circulate in the human sphere. They are the world crashing into consciousness, not consciousness opening up and losing itself in the world.


2. THE HABITUAL VIEW OF OBJECTS
An object is habitually seen as an entanglement of three dimensions: form, content, material. The form of an object is not only a geometrically identifiable shape like a sphere or a cube, or a repetition of elements like line, colour, texture, timbre, tint, but in general: the constellation of identifiable elements constituting the object and their mutual relations. The form of a
fragment of speech for instance, which is a linguistic object, is the syntagmatic chain of its phonemic and morphemic elements.
The content is not only what can be articulated in statements like: “This is a landscape” or “This is the portrait of the artist as a young man”. The content of an object might be the object itself. When we see a white cube, we might say: “This is a white cube.” But when we see a white cube with a black triangular prism on top of it, we might also say: “This is a house.”
Both are statements of content.
The material consists not only in things like wood, metal, glass. It can also include things like sound, light, words, thoughts, emotions, memories, pain, or the fragments of a lived life.

Fourth Dimension


3. THE FOURTH DIMENSION
But there is a fourth dimension, which usually goes unnoticed. This is the force or impact exerted by the object.
Firstly, the impact of an object can modify or transform the space it finds itself in. The space or environment of an object can be of four types: (1) the well-defined space of a physical confinement, like a hallway, a cave, a wall, a screen (2) the open space of a landscape, a street, a beach, a crowd (3) the space of a medium like memory, a narrative, a historical
period, a succession of sounds, the printed matter between the covers of a book (4) the space which is the distance between an observer and the observed, even if it is mediated by a telescope, a microscope, a hearing aid or any other machine of perception. Secondly, the impact of an object can affect the multitude of objects sharing its space. These
can be (1) exhibits in an exhibition, (2) the architectural elements of the space of display, like door knobs, lights, vitrines, window panes (3) the people cohabiting temporarily the same space as the exhibits, like visitors, museum staff, technicians etc.


4. CURATORIAL QUESTION FOR AN EXHIBITION
What does it mean to create objects from the standpoint of force, rather than that of a form, a content, a material? What does it mean to create objects with the specific purpose of displaying their force and impact, which can materialise as their performative function?

 

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