Saturday, March 21, 2015


Thought behind the thought: 
Henry Thoreau says, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it”. It so true about all of us, we have all exchanged something very dear to us in exchange for life. Not always, are we able to do so with acceptance. This exchange scars us of life and makes us vulnerable to pain. Oddly some people seem happy and content all the time and you begin to wonder how life is so sorted for them. Truth is that they too have paid a price and if you look closely, chances are you will find the price clearly imprinted in their eyes.

About the art: 

Yuki Matsueda is a Japanese artist who has done some remarkable work in 3D sculpting. His sculptures seem to be in suspended animation and he manages to pull out the core or the crux out an object and separate it from the whole. Just as we pay a price for life and are bereft of our core or our crux, these objects look like something vital is missing or has been pulled out of them with force. It would be interesting to imagine how we look, visually, separated from what we imagine to be our core. Matsueda’s works show us the part, the whole, the crux and the absence and presence of the crux in the same frame at a single point in time.


Friday, March 20, 2015

lines and dots

Thought behind the thought
Have you ever seen a 'modern' painting and felt at a complete loss to understand the meaning of the lines and shapes and dots? Have you ever tried to read a foreign language in an unknown script and felt overwhelmed by the lines and dots on paper? 
You know for sure, that they mean something to someone. You know that they stand for some concept or word or idea. But till you learn the script, you are not able to unravel the mystery behind the symbols. And once you learn to read the symbols, you suddenly feel liberated, because now you are a part of their world!

About the Art
Lines and dots were used as symbols to convey deeper meaning in art, especially tribal art. They formed symbols and motifs that were unique to the community that created them. Like these paintings  by Australian aboriginal artists.

'Tingari' (Lake) by artist : George Ward Tjungurrayi. 

Tingari – Karrkurritinytja (Lake MacDonald) by artist : George Ward Tjungurrayi.

   'Water buffalo' by artist Djambu Barra Barra

  'Man finished' by  artist: Djambu Barra Barra  

As seen in all these paintings, lines and dots, apart from creating a very strong visual impact are symbolic and convey meanings and ideas in a very unique way. While there are huge differences between symbols and meanings throughout Australia, there are some symbols that seem to be almost universal throughout the Aboriginal world. The more you understand of the symbols, the more you can appreciate Aboriginal art and its meaning. 

'Ngalyod' (rainbow Serpent) by artist: Hamish Garrgarku

 "Gungara' (spiralling wind by artist Hamish Garrgarku

Although some symbols used in Aboriginal art have secret meanings - which are only there for those who have been appropriately initiated - other symbols and their meanings have become well established (like the "U" symbol to represent people, lines to represent tracks or waves, and circles representing a whole lot of things like berries, stars, kids or even waterholes, with reference to the overall picture)

'Rockhole' by artist Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

'Walking over sand hills' by artist Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

Watch Australian artist Janie Ward Nakamarra create an amazing 'dot' painting in the video clip below.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

choices and fate

Thought behind the thought
Don't we realize, too late at times, that we have made a wrong choice? And that we have totally missed the bus, or changed the track because of the choices we made? And then we wonder 'What if......." 
Life puts you through an examination, where there is no answer key to any of the questions asked. If there is one, it comes to you only at the end, after all the choices have been made, and your fate sealed. So, make your choices with utmost care, because they are finally going to chart your journey and decide your destination!

About Design
If you thought making choices as an individual is difficult, think about making choices as a community! How difficult it is for a group of people to make the right choice, considering all the diverse views and opinions, and also the diverse ambitions and aspirations. 
That is exactly why the planning and design of cities becomes such a complex process, with so many alternative case scenarios developed for the very many choices that are made in the urban design process! What if you could predict future urban scenarios accurately based on the matrix of choices? 

That is what the "Urbanology Online" Game, designed by the BMW Guggenheim Lab does!

Urbanology is a game that examines the complex ways in which cities develop. It puts you in charge of your own city by presenting you with a variety of real-world urban dilemmas. Every decision you make impacts your city negatively or positively; often in ways you might not expect. 

At the end of game play, a custom algorithm takes eight major categories (innovation, transportation, health, affordability, wealth, lifestyle, sustainability, and livability) into account, and then calculates the closest real-world equivalent to the city you've created.

The game experience for Urbanology was developed by Local Projects, and the physical design was created by ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles].

The BMW Guggenheim Lab was a mobile laboratory about urban life that began as a co-initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the BMW Group. From 2011 to 2014, the Lab traveled to New York,Berlin, and Mumbai. Part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space, the Lab’s goal was the exploration of new ideas, experimentation, and ultimately the creation of forward-thinking visions and projects for city life. Through the lens of the themes Confronting Comfort, Making, and Privacy and Public Space, this global project explored how people relate to cities and public space today.
The Lab brought together interdisciplinary teams of emerging talents in the areas of urbanism, architecture, art, design, science, technology, education, and sustainability, to creatively explore, experiment and finally create solutions for cities through participatory processes.

The Lab has traveled to cities like New York, Berlin and Mumbai, and conducted some very interesting experiments and organised events, think tanks and projects based on the urban issues related to those cities. It surely has created a participatory model of thinking for our cities, which is becoming increasingly important and relevant to the design of cities today.

Do visit the site and play the "Urbanology Online" game, to know what kind of future city you would build with your personal choices!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Thought behind the Thought

What does 'value' mean? We are constantly judging our worth by the impact we make on people's lives with our presence. Whether we are the center of attraction in a group, whether we win a debate, whether people notice us and our work. But that is only half the story!
A person's real value is understood when he/she is absent from the scene. If someone remembers you for your work, if someone pauses for a moment and thinks about you, if someone feels that their day would have been better had you been a part of it ..... that will tell you how valuable your 'being you' is! 
Presence can create an impact, absence creates value!

About the Art 
A fascinating way to express meaning in art is to convey what is 'not there' through what is 'there', right in front of your eyes. Expressing the 'unseen' through the obvious!, like words conveying a deeper meaning in poetry. Like the sculptures below, giving you a hint of what is actually absent from the visual frame!

The Sculpture showing  the artist, with his head tucked into the wall, it's presence highlighted by it's obvious absence!

The hand fully expresses the person, and the action that is actually absent from the scene.

A very effective representation of the force of 'Gravity' that cannot be seen, but is forever present.

"Kaayam", the sculptural 'skins' shed off artistically on the walls. This installation evokes and emphasizes the sense of the body that is actually absent from the sculpture.

A very dynamic sculpture, where the 'angel' emerges from a block of stone and merges into nothingness, by evaporation. An angel that was absent, expressed itself and vanished again!

Alwar Balasubramanium, the creator of these works, is a sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist, currently based in Bangalore, India. His work, which focuses on the body and its material relationship to the world, has been the subject of international acclaim, and has been featured in museums and exhibitions worldwide.

Alwar Balasubramaniam's sculpture plays with time, shape, shadow, perspective: four tricky sensations that can reveal — or conceal — what's really out there.

Do watch the TED talk below fro a glimpse into his mind and thought process.

Alwar Balasubramaniam's work aches to express the overlooked, the invisible, the inexpressible. Quiet white sculptural forms, hung on a wall, unlock philosophical questions as one watches the light pass over them. What is their form, and what is their shadow? What are those mysterious white hands reaching for, around the corner and through the wall?Trained in painting and printmaking, Balasubramaniam has been experimenting with a range of materials (fiberglass, wax, gold) to create sculptural works that bring forth his ideas and his search process. His work is often very tactile, very physical, but it symbolizes an exploration of big questions:what defines the self? what confines us? how do light and shadow shape our view of the world?

“Mr. Balasubramaniam, self-taught as a sculptor, is young, savvy and in the middle of a spurt of growth. It could take him anywhere, but there’s already a lot here.” — Holland Cotter, New York Times(

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

unseasonal rain

Thought behind the thought:
Unseasonal rain always brings a sombre mood with it. All the birds and animals are also perturbed by its sudden onset. It has something probably to do with uncertainty and unpredictability of the event that makes us uneasy. The climatic changes and environmental issues have literally put our seasons in disarray. Just like an unexpected life event makes us anxious and wary unseasonal rain seems to enter our souls and awaken old wounds and pain.

About Art and Design
Rain , where you least expect it, is the theme of this installation "Rain Room", designed by Random International. The installation gives the visitor a feel of walking in the rain without getting wet!

Rain Room is a hundred square metre field of falling water through which it is possible to walk, trusting that a path can be navigated, without being drenched in the process.

As you progress through The Curve, the sound of water and a suggestion of moisture fill the air, before you are confronted by this carefully choreographed downpour that responds to your movements and presence.

Random International create artworks and installations that explore behaviour, reaction and intuition in relation to natural phenomena and the human form. The studio responds to recent developments in cognitive science and new media by creating works that encourage an active relationship between people and their surrounding environments, making the viewers’ participation fundamental. Founded in 2005 by Stuart Wood, Florian Ortkrass and Hannes Koch, the studio is based in London and today includes a growing team of diverse and complementary talent.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

life and death

Thought behind the thought
As I walked in the park one windy evening, my attention was drawn to the rustling leaves quivering in the evening light. The effect was ethereal. The shine on the surface, where the greens caught the sun rays, was magical. I thought of how Life blesses everything that she touches and makes it full and glowing. 
And I thought then, of the same leaves when they fall off - light and frail! The veins prominent on the face, the green having worn off. But still retaining their inner beauty!

About the Art
Leaves defy Death, in the sense that they do not let Death take away their beauty. In fact, it seems as though Death treats them with utmost care, keeping their veins intact, adding a soft beauty to their frail frames. The leaf, rustling with life, retains the essence of beauty even when it's green life comes to an end.
Artist  Lorenzo Manuel Durán Silva has made  leaves his canvas, and creates amazing art by cutting different patterns in leaves.

He says, "Inspired by a caterpillar I decided to cut plant leaves the same way as other artists do with paper, that idea captivated my whole mind because it looked like a great opportunity to combine two of my true passions: art and nature. My geometric or figurative designs mostly come from my innate observation of nature and the personal metamorphosis I have gone through in recent years."

Lorenzo Silva studied Delineation , but went on to do various jobs in the construction field, before a spell of unemployment left him with time on his hands. 
" .... when unemployment appeared in my path, providing me with lots of time to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and then I began living an existential metamorphosis which has turned me into a man who is increasingly aware of his inside, his shadow, and who attempts to communicate with all of that using his personal tools, in a creative field."

See more of his amazing work and the process of creation in the videos below.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

the game

Thought behind the thought
Play the game of life. Follow the rules, make your moves. Wherever you may begin , whatever line of action you may follow, be sure to move on and ahead. And most importantly, aspire to win! That is the crux of life.
A game of chess tells us just that. You have been assigned a certain place to begin with. And there are a set of rules  for how you move and where. The only aim is to play the game well and win!

About the Craft and Design
A beautifully complex game, played with equally beautiful boards and pieces!

The game of chess, played world over today, is believed to have originated in India during the Gupta period (280-550 C.E) The words for "chess" in Old Persian and Arabic are “Chatrang” and “Shatranj” respectively — terms derived from "Chaturaṅga" in Sanskrit, which literally means an army of four divisions or four corps.
Chess pieces were actually in the shape of an army of the time. During those times, a king’s army was comprised of hathi (elephants), ghoda (horse), oont (camel),paidal sanik (soldiers) and the Raja (King) and his senapati (general). The commander later became the queen in modern chess after the game reached Europe, though the senapati was the one the most important posts in an Indian king’s army. Much like today’s queen in chess, during the fight the Senapati was the person in charge and also the leader of the entire army. In those days, if the king was killed or captured the defending army had to surrender.

Ivory Chess set, Rajasthan, India

Painted and Laquered wooden Chess set, Rajasthan, late 19th or early 20th century, one side predominantly red, the other side predominantly green, kings as elephants with closed howdahs, queens as elephants with open howdahs, bishops as warriors riding camels, knights as horsemen, rooks as warriors on camels, pawns as foot soldiers, all the pieces elaborately decorated in gilt.

Modern chess players no more use such elaborately crafted pieces for the game. Contemporary Design has an entirely different visual vocabulary than traditional design. From the elaborate to the minimal, from the mimetic to the abstract, design concepts have changed with the times. So have the materials and processes that are used for crafting. 

It is certainly difficult to choose one over the other, both being beautiful in their own way! But one thing is certain, the game remains as engaging as ever ..... inside the 64 square matrix, or outside.

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