IS DEATH POSSIBLE …..
Against the background of the recorded performance at the RajaRani temple, Bhubaneswar in Odisha, India the artist performs a monologue. It is a live, site specific performance lasting over 22min 30sec.
Concept, Direction-Seema Kohli
Photography and edit SakthiDoss
Is death possible? Is there an end….I wonder.
Everything I look around seems to be pulsating with a certain rhythm.
The trees, the bushes, the shrubs, the flowers, the closed bud, the pregnant clouds in the sky, the soft drizzle, the thrust of that droplet from the glaciers which defies all mountains and egoistic rocks that bursts into a waterfall flowing into a stream joining hands with throaty laughter widening its girth into a river and merging into the sea…seas into oceans and oceans melting into the skies.
Evaporating into the limitless air coming back as life again…falling back on earth, consummating the whole life form.
In the process of all this activity, what all has it given life to?
Everything is recycled, positively, rejuvenated, new….
…..everything is on a serious but a continuous journey.
Isn’t it amazing to see that innate table, that cup full of tea, that toothpaste on my brush, that half eaten apple, that little ant carrying that morsel of sugar, that firefly in my garden, that twinkling star melting into the infinite sky?
…can we differentiate either from living and non living?
Is this questioning only in my mind ….are all these elements not thinking?
Is it that my limited mind sees some as lesser or greater?
Or I am just incapable to penetrate into their lives and journeys.
This is the mystery of the cosmos; we all know the answer, deep inside.
Are we ready to accept and realize it …
The choice is ours…
I am trying to engage with the philosophical enquiry of life,
to grasp the metaphysical truth of existence
and the cosmic energy that is responsible for all creation.
Employing the fundamental tenets of mythology as tools,
I wish to emphasise the cyclicality of existence and the rejuvenation of life forms through the unending processes of birth, death and re-birth.
My interaction at the RajaRani Temple attempts to explore these fundamental questions about the cycle of life ,death and rejuvenation.
Within the space of this centuries old,idoless temple, I re-incarnate myself as the idol and absorb, react and reinterpret the energy that inhabits around me during which I engage in a series of symbolic gestures like encircling the temple or closing and opening and closing the door of the garbhagriha. The idea of circumambulation-an act, which finds resonance in Hindu worship and shamanic practices as well as in the whirling dervishes of Sufism, is an integral gesture of my performance signifying the never ending loop of creation and the continuation of life rhythm.
The closing and opening of the door becomes a visual metaphor of the journey towards heightened awareness of the Divine as well of the Self.
Through this performance I interrogate myself on the relationship of life and death, of continuity, of belief, of faith, of ritual, of consolidation and disintegration of it all. The relationship between, the idol and me. Does the idol need me or do I the worshipper needs an idol? Using the body as an instrument to unshackle the confines of the body, flesh and blood, the intellect becomes subservient to consciousness readily supplying the archetypes latent in my subconscious.
The work actively contests the role of an artist today.
Is it different from the traditional role of a priest/shaman/psychic?
Has it evolved to mean something more?
Engaging with a wide circuit of references like iconography, world mythology, philosophy and literature, as tools, I weave together a story to recover my relationship with this small gap of “death or rejuvenation” through the lost feminine narrative in cultural history.