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Imperfectly perfect

Lallan converts his inspiration into a visual art form using the language of cinema

As one steps into the quiet small space of Triveni Kala Sangam’s digital art gallery, one is greeted by multiple videos flashing across several screens. Putting on the headphones, one is immediately transported to a world entirely different.

Drawing your undivided attention, the ongoing video installation by artist Lallan, demands audience involvement with the works. Titled ‘An Imperfect Cinema’, the multi-channel anthology of four digital video works is inspired by the Cuban film- maker Julio Garcia Espinosa’s essay — ‘For an Imperfect Cinema’ published in 1969.

Considered as a revolutionary contribution to cinema, the concept of ‘Imperfect Cinema’ deals with recording the perspectives of ordinary people that encourages active participation from the audience. Espinosa describes imperfect cinema as “the opposite of a self-sufficient and contemplative cinema.”
“Espinosa’s essay was the catalyst to a period of rigorous self-introspection regarding my practice of making films plus videos. The works were brought to life, after a long meditative process of revisiting my studio archives, time and again, over the course of the last six years.


Selected excerpts from the essay have been used as cues for each of the four works, also serving as a thread in the combination of the works, with the root of their origin,” explains Lallan.

Shot across non-urban settings across India, the multi-channel videos are divided into four works.

The Face
In this four-minute video, the camera is used as a separator between the subject and the artists, wherein it explores the relationship between the subject and the device. A collection of these moments from the road are presented in a visual montage.

A Convultion
Travelling to the weavers town of Chanderi and living with them for a month, this one- minute video records the life of a master weaver Abbas Ansari along with the visuals from the village. The installation uses a poem of Kabir, a 15th century Indian weaver-poet, and overlays it with an excerpt from a conversation with Ansari. According to the artist, the weaver acts as metaphor for human beings and the complex process of weaving is Life.

Toward an Impure Poetry
This nine-minute work is an onscreen adaptation of Pablo Neruda’s poem, Toward an Impure Poetry. In this piece, the poet calls to attention the mundane realities of life. The video features footages that the artist has never used before, exploring the severity of the utmost ordinary, the otherwise neglected aspects of life.

Stasis
Shot entirely on a boat rowing across the Ghats of Kashi, this three-and-a-half-minute video has two parts to it. Creating a short film from filming the Ghats across seasons, this is screened individually to the boatmen who live on the Ghats. This screening is filmed live and is played along with the original film to create a video collage of visual paradox. The viewers are watching a film and also watching the film’s viewers simultaneously.