On The Sidereal

Curated by Prayas Abhinav 

          Time is the material with which we construct our waking experience.

          If the fountain of youth; eternity itself, lands up at our doorstep, what would we make of it? Surrounding ourselves with our things, we try to make meaning through them. We exchange the time on our hands with things we desire. Jung's Alchemist sought a spiritual process to occur within the world of things. Things rising above their thingness to be all things and nothing at the same time, were the hope and desire of many. If that chase should be cut short, what would it be replaced with? Time. Empty time. Void. A thing falling into an infinite abyss. For now, to stay with the process of knowing this abyss better, we will refer to it as “sidereal”. The sidereal in a way sidesteps our knowing of multiple realities and universalities, but still is a part of our experience.  

“How do you plug a void plugging a void?”, R. D. Laing 

          What do we do after we de-shackle time from its commodity exchange value? Few can bear the weight of naked time. We seek ways to dullen, fragment and diffuse our awareness of it. Media creates a dream world for our waking selves. A dream world in which we are told that we have agency to reconfigure the worlds around us. A dream world that placates us when we cannot do so, offers us periodic piecemeal victory and hope to keep us engaged, keep us locked-in, prevent our “sidereality” to come alive.

          Catharsis is only achieved from a liberal pollination of desires and use-values for our “sidereal time”. Camouflaging a personal theatre on the inside with boredom and disengagement is a tactic of defense from the onslaught of reality TV and the tabloid newspaper. The everyday and the mundane hide a performance space of passion, adventure and poetry in private envelopes of time.

          This “sidereal time” and its voice can transform into anything it seeks. Desire, confusion and recklessness are tools which can be used towards this. With time made open to an alchemical manipulation and transformation, space invariably will be persuaded to take on other contours as well. And spaces will dream with all the things that they contain. This brings us to the Wheel of Time - the packet within which all else floats. The Ouroboros. The reason why time can be cast in no permanent mould - except nostalgia maybe, for some time. 

“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans,” Double Fantasy, John Lennon 

          As we live, we witness our experience fracturing; into the time that we sell to earn our keep and the time we don’t. Time spent working and leisure-time. For many cognitive laborers, a separation such as this doesn’t exist. All time is work time, what is the “sidereal”?  

“If all time is eternally present, All time is unredeemable,” Buirnt Norton, T.S. Eliot 

            Information:  ‘On The Sidereal’ is a project at The Guild Art Gallery in Mumbai from 18th to 26th July. The public exhibition is from the 27th July to the 28th August, 2011. The participating artists are Amitabh Pandey, Asim Waqif, Eelco Wagenaar, Kiran Subbaiah, Prayas Abhinav and Tahireh Lal.

            The project is curated by Prayas Abhinav from the Center for Experimental Media Arts (CEMA) at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.











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