...since knowledge of reality is based upon the distinction between real images and unreal images, and since this distinction does not at the first moment exist, these intuitions would in truth not be intuitions either of the real or unreal, not perceptions, but pure intuitions. Where all is real nothing is real.
The Oxford English Dictionary reads the definition of reality as, “the quality of being real or having an actual existence". Moving away from the essential terminology of reality, in present times, in the world of semiotics, signs and signifiers, which in itself questions the monolithic meaning of reality. Frederic Jameson (1990) argues that the “world with an unreality and a free floating absence of ‘the referent’” is a product of late capitalism and mass reproduction. Similarly with the advent of media technology we are forced to challenge the conventional meaning of reality, thereby we are given multiple realities i.e, Surreality, Hyperreality, Subverted Reality, Augmented reality.
Before discussing these multiple realities, I would like to approach the process of excavation through subversion. Thus subversion of reality opens the space of odd juxtapositions of symbols and unorthodox understanding of meanings attached to symbols. The symbols in arts, under the canopy of subverting reality, embellish the narratives of reality only to disrupt the hitherto established interpretations. Thereby, the viewer occupies the centre stage to interpret the unsaid meaning. The term Surreal was coined by the poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire, which works on the Freudian notions of dreams, ego, superego and id. The artistic and literary movement opens the world of dreams where chance and spontaneity play supreme roles. The surreal reality is feast of unconscious. Hyperreality instigates the debate between reality and representations. The debate reinforces an environment where the distinctions reality/imaginary is constantly imploded. Lastly, living in virtual world adds impetus to the virtual augmentation of reality. An existence in virtual world is governed by the dictates of the computer. This interaction between real world and virtual augmentation generates the composite view which becomes the final reality for the user.
When art is a product of this multiple realities, it proposes multitude of social meanings and onus lies on us to ‘excavate’ reality. This interdependence between social reality and art(s) suggests that the latter tells ‘us’ about ourselves as ‘our’ interpretation of the art (Baudrillard 1996). Hence, the reality is no more singularly given to the viewer but we ‘excavate’ reality from the plural realities.
I invited a group of diverse artists to represent their respective notions of reality. It is a sheer coincidence that two of the artists in the exhibition, Uday Dhar, and Gautam Bhatia trained as architects, and the other two Flaguni Gokhale and Tarun Rawat trained as graphic designers and four of them are practicing fine artists.
Thus their excavations into reality follow their personal trajectories which are as diverse as the topography they come from.
New Delhi based Gautam Bhatia is subverting realities in a futuristic landscape. New York based Uday Dhar is looking at reality within a post modern mapping where any issue, mapping of problems, and then finding solutions from two contradictory positions. “Neither resolution is right, or wrong – a classic post-modern syndrome.”
Pune based Falguni Gokhale views reality within an imaginery painterly reality, and Mumbai based Tarun Rawat places his reality within augmented reality .
Dr. Alka Pande
1. Croce, Benedetto (1922), Aesthetic: As science of expression and general linguistic, New York, Noonday Press.
2. Jameson, Fredric (1990) Signatures of the Visible. New York: Routledge.
3. Baudrillard, Jean (1994), Simulacra and Simulation, Sheila Glaser (trs), Ann Arbor, Michigan University Press.
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