Critics’ Picks

Mochu, Painted diagram of a future voyage (Who Believes The Lens?), 2013, digital video, color, silent, five minute loop.


“Apple in Dream Mode”

Mumbai Art Room
4th Pasta Lane, Colaba Pipewala Building
June 28–August 24

In keeping with various strands of philosophical inquiry that take their fundamental principle a critique of Cartesian mind-body duality, “Apple in Dream Mode,” curated by John Xaviers, suggests through its title that nonhuman entities have interior lives. Yet rather than claim access to opaque worlds, the four artists included in this exhibition speculate on the frontiers and limits of human perception.

Mochu’s five-minute video Painted diagram of a future voyage (Who Believes the Lens?), 2013, uses principles of anamorphosis to distort colonial-era aquatints by British painters Thomas and William Daniell. Through digital editing, Mochu compresses and skews buildings in Orientalist picturesques, indicating new possibilities of apprehension contained in the technological scrambling of Western gazes. Conversely, Gagan Singh ponders whether the human body has the capacity to be as malleable as other matter in his four-minute video How to Climb the Stairs, 2018. With a marker in hand, Singh draws stick figures, stretching their legs to make them leap across the steps-seemingly impossible feats until one considers how human bodies have transformed over time and with developments in biotechnology.

The allusion to an oneiric state is strongest in Suvani Suri’s site-specific soundscape Prelude to a Puncture in Listening, 2018, in which noises picked up from the gallery (keys, cars, birds) are mixed with recorded ones. The resulting low hums, punctuated occasionally by sibilant clatters, seem to offer a theatrical soundtrack to the rocks, seeds, and other natural and man-made debris in Sonam Chaturvedi’s ongoing installation Time, Memory, Incoherent, 2012-. If they could speak to humans, what kind of dreams might these entities narrate?