|Volume 6 | Issue 11 | November 2012 ||
My mobile weighs a ton
A project by NAEEM MOHAIEMEN at Gallery Chitrak, Dhanmondi, on the first anniversary of the 2007 Dhaka University protests [http://mobileton.wordpress.com].
By year two of the "caretaker government", everyone seemed exhausted by a state of continual limbo, as we wait and wait. For elections to happen, for the Army to return to barracks, for the politicians to return to the podium. The tyranny of intentions. A chronicle of gridlock foretold.
I could feel dissident energy seeping away. I wrote with grim pragmatism that I knew there would be no "last man in front of Tiananmen tanks." August 2008 was the first anniversary of the protests that exploded on university campuses -- a tectonic disturbance that became an accidental and instrumentalised challenge.
Professor Nisar Hossain invited us to do a project at Gallery Chitrak around this time. With curator Zaid Islam, I designed a shad commemoration.
All I had from Augst 2007 were a set of mobile phone photos. Accidental ephemera. On day three of the riots, when curfew was lifted for two hours (but mobile networks were switched off), I went on a motorcycle ride with architect Salahuddin Ahmed. "Don't bring out your camera," he warned, so I didn't. These mobile phone shots, disposable and forgotten (I had almost erased without downloading), now became the tentpole for this project. Blown up to wall size, dyed in crude palettes, they took on the timeline for an unravelling.
We are inside an Asian century, and a local situation, that is producing endless beautiful imagery. But it's all a little too gorgeous and refined. I get worried facing so much aesthetic perfection. We still need space for mistakes, bacteria, and things that don't fit. Motion come from the context for image warfare. Mobile phone photos blurry, low dpi, poorly framed, no rule of thirds, no colour depth. Giving you quick access to make temporary provocations, without planning, intention or press card. As accidental as the boy snapping his lover on Dhanmondi Lake. Koi, amar kotha shune hasho na to…
We crave more spaces for DIY (do it yourself). Yes, anyone can do this, and everyone should. No barriers, no high culture priests, no hierarchy, no gurus. Eventually of course, every rebellion becomes its own clique. That's when we need to move on to the next space. Friction and creative chaos. Accidental images get in the way of blueprints.
Naeem Mohaiemen is a writer and visual artist working in photography and film [email@example.com].
4:10 PM, NO SIGNAL (PM OFFICE)
4:10 PM, BONES OF XINDIAN
4:55 PM, THE SIGN SAID STOP, SO, ERR... I DIDN'T
5:08 ON, SOMETHING HAPPENING IN THE AIR
5:30 PM, HELLO MOTO, WHERE'S YOUR FACEBOOK WALL?
5:55 PM, BONES OF 4 SEASONS
8:02 PM, I HEARD IT ON TV
9:00 PM, AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR
IT ALL STARTED WITH A "TRIVIAL MATTER"
IT ALL STARTED WITH A "TRIVIAL MATTER" (INSTALLATION VIEW)
NO CAKE? EAT GPA 5.
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