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Navjot Altaf is known for her sustained engagement withÂ interactive /Â collaborative art practices. Since 1997 she has also been working in collaboration with indigenous artists and community members of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Central India onÂ NalparÂ (hand pump sites) andÂ Pilla Gudi/Temples for childrenÂ projects that seek to situate artistic production within the fabric of community life. An early encounter with MarxismÂ leading to her interest in feminismÂ has been instrumental in shaping Altafâ€™s sensibilities as an artist.
Altafâ€™s interactive installation at the Kochi- Muziris Biennale titledÂ â€˜Mary wants to read a bookâ€™Â (2014)Â is a built up spaceÂ / aÂ library,Â Â to recognize significance of the literacy movement and library culture in Kerala.Â The work is based on the visual of â€˜Study Charts 2,000 Years of Continental Climate Changesâ€™.Â Â This work is to be viewed from an ecological perspective / the web of life of which we are a part, a critique of hyper production and consumption which has continued to grow and led civilizations to estrangement from life-world experiences â€“ resulting in climatic catastrophe.
Library that documents global rise in temperatures in the last 2000 years. Weaved into this narrative is an homage to Keralaâ€™s library movement. Closely linked to left cultural activism, The library movement along with the stateâ€™s drive towards full literacy is widely considered a key ingredient in the success of the â€˜Kerala-model of developmentâ€™; marked by high social indicators and political participation despite comparatively low levels of industrialization and per capita income. The installation takes its form- that of a libraryÂ from this history.Â Â Comprised ofÂ more than two thousandsÂ of multi-colouredÂ books made from recycled paper each with textÂ from Altafâ€™s research. Work alsoÂ includes audio and video.Â Â theÂ Â library is the three dimensional model of a chart depicting 2000 years of continental temperature change on earth.Coded to correspond to a colour spectrum (with red and blue indicating the highest and lowest temperatures respectively),Â The chart documents temperature changes including the alarming rise of the last decades. By cross referencing this chronicle of an impending ecological disaster with an idealized version of a social progress within the largely unindustrialized state of Kerala, Altaf isÂ perhapsÂ suggesting /Â asking forÂ an alternative, less ecologically punishing mode of development.
The books that are part of the installation can be taken away by the audience in the last two weeks of the biennale.
The biennale will be taking place from Dec 2014 â€“ March 2015.
More info at: http://kochimuzirisbiennale.org/.
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