On the 31st of January ’14, I screened these films in Mapusa market, it was quite an experience. Because, I was showing a kind of art film, people there may or may not see it as art. Expectedly, everyone asked me, what is the point of this? I explained, well I found this machine and its ringing attractive so i decided to make a short film, it is also kind of a study of just this machine and its movement. Some people weren’t amused so I added, I see this film as part of a process and an instrument to have a conversation with you, so in a way the point of the film is to create an interaction. Some folks seemed to appreciate this but a man I spoke to in the end wasn’t satisfied. Eventually, with some desperation it occurred to me and I resorted to saying well why is there a wheel in the national flag, to justify this film by adding a popular reference and therefore a dimension of purpose. This somewhat quelled his curiosity, although I cannot be certain, perhaps he had enough of me.
I screened these films back to back for nearly 2 hours and 15 minutes, starting at 6:00 pm on till 8:15 pm and amazingly, at any given point, there were 6-7 people watching the films at the minimum and at some other points, a good 15-20 people watching it. A lot of people watched it and didn’t ask any questions. I can only wonder what went through their minds.
Unfortunately, I must say the star of the show was, the Dell P-65 LED mini projector. The first time I saw it, I was amazed at how small it was. So it was no wonder everyone was also amazed in the market. About 6 out of 10 people asked me if this was a demo and how much the projector costs etc. I immediately realised, that indeed I am in a bustling market, people expect to see things selling. And it was Friday, which is market day. The market massively increases in density, and many big sellers come here. ( https://mappingmapusamarket.wordpress.com/category/friday-bazaar/ ) Eventually, I had to put up a ‘Projector not for sale’ note at the side. This way I could just point to the note and say, please watch the film.
A sixteen year old, DVD selling, migrant boy called Akhtar, hailing from U.P. asked me, since you make films, well, why don’t you show the big bridge in Calangute, the Western Ghats and people parasailing on the beaches? To which I said, yeah I could even show pictures of the USA but the point is that i have to stay local, Nayim, his friend, unexpectedly then said something in my favour, he said “jo cheez dikhti nahin woh dikhate hain yeh” (he is showing stuff that doesn’t necessarily get seen man). I thanked Nayim in my head and said yes thats more to the point. During the process 2 people even asked for my number, a certain Mr. Prasad and Mr. Vishal with whom I had intense conversations, they said they like the film but do not know what to make of them but they seemed impressed and to me they seemed like thinking inquisitive folk, unfortunately I left 4 days later and I never got a call from them.
This was the first public art project, I have done, I have seen public art and deeply appreciate how the works on display prompts passers by to ask questions and try to understand what is going on. I like the fact that the average person, is not connected with the popular discourse of art, his mind is not conditioned to make stereotypical connections, it fascinates me as to what such a person would take from something like this. Often they make comments and ask questions, that would have never occurred to myself. Interacting with people in the market and trying to communicate the idea, clarifies my own perspective and therefore I see it all as part of the process. But perhaps, next time I will show films that people here can relate more to.