Teaching at O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India
Hi, I’m sonam
[Alt-self ┈ silelming/ shatvi…]
Apart from being an artist+educator, I’m also a knitter, a poet-or-so, a relief volunteer, a plant stealer, a diarist, a collector of found objects, a tree lover, a book binder, an amateur swimmer, a snail-mailer, a listener & observer, a somnolent, a warm hugger, & more that I’m still figuring out…
I’m highly sensitive to loudness, brightness and talking — hence my room is always dark, I stay up till sunrise, my phone’s brightness is almost nil, I nearly faint when a car honks by, I can become invisible in a large group, I’m telephonophobic, won’t respond for days and happy to let you do all the talking, 🙂
I wish to grow to be a pianist/ a tree someday, may be both at the same time.. (what are the chances?). Meet my furry girls – Zui and Bubbles 🐹🐹
(this is the part where I talk about my practice in the third person and act all formal and serious o_o)
‘…how will I ever know if I have reached the horizon? There will always be a horizon waiting.’
11 10 ’15 (notes from diary)
Time and memory have been the primary points of inquiry in sonam’s practice– experimenting and stirring alternate temporalities (experiential/ unorganized/ incoherent time) that resists its linear constructs (definite/ organized/ coherent time), thus fragmenting memory in the process. She is interested in understanding what role time plays in the current economic structure predominantly dependent on converting each hour into production time/ speed-hour while capitalizing on attention-time. How do you ‘spend’ your time? The feverish urge of the present world to drift into the rabbit hole of screens constantly craving for our attention, further being accelerated by the pandemic, has made her realise how slowness, rest, hibernation, solitude, day-dreaming and lingering around, are forms of resistance; how niches for respite can only be built from and within the capitalist machinery itself.
Her research/enquiry materialises through video installations, interactive art, found objects, artist’s books + ephemeral mediums like sound, automated-calling systems, instruction-based art and creating alternate art spaces/initiatives, among others.
‘We live in an age where we are cultivating our sense of time and memory through pixels– Pixel memory/time– memory derived from the digital space that is incoherent, quickly consumed and forgotten, hyperdocumented, performative and magical, seducing us with a new trick every moment.’
17 12 ’21 (notes from diary)
Time and memory merge into each other; they are like the two sides of a medal. It is obvious enough that without Time, memory cannot exist either. But memory is something so complex that no list of all its attributes could define the totality of the impressions through which it affects us. Memory is a spiritual concept. For instance, if somebody tells us of his impressions of childhood, we can say with certainty that we shall have enough material in our hands to form a complete picture of that person. Bereft of memory, a person becomes the prisoner of an illusory existence; falling out of time he is unable to seize his own link with the outside world- in other words he is doomed to madness. As a moral being, man is endowed with memory which sows in him a sense of dissatisfaction. It makes us vulnerable, subject to pain.Andrei Tarkovsky (From Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema, pages 57 and 58)
The intention is not to reach at a definite conclusion, but to emphasise on certain slow and mundane experiences, to be conscious and observe minutely. Hence, most of her works are always in-progress/ drafting..
The technologies and schemas that businesses and governments capitalise through, are employed in her works, to lead slow journeys of slow accumulation. This is attempted by converting time into a currency in her recent project, KAIROI (2019-’20), a time-sensitive vending machine that collects/accumulates people’s time in order to slow them down and reflect on the current speed of life. Similarly, it’s seen in her collaborative project -out-of-line-, that uses the disruptive and ubiquitous communication technologies of automated-calling & messaging systems to transmit sound/text works over the phone line/inbox. Projects like occurrences (2018) further deviate from the tangible mediums of expression, towards ephemeral modes of provocation i.e. instructions. Can the liminal separation between art and life be transgressed by navigating through the experiences and technologies that permeate our present pace of living (/striving) towards constant continuities & connectivities?
sonam has her BFA from Faculty of Fine Arts– M.S. University, Baroda and MFA from Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida. She has initiated collaborative art projects like first draft and –out-of-line–, received the FICA Public Art Grant for –out-of-line– and Five Million Incidents grant for KAIROI; she was Artreach India’s third teaching fellow in 2017. She has participated in exhibitions at Max Mueller Bhavan, FICA, India International Centre, IGNCA, Bikaner House and Mumbai Art Room, among others and was an artist-in-residence at What About Art? (Mumbai), Utsha Foundation for Contemporary Art (Bhubaneswar), O.P. Jindal Global University (Sonipat) and Kammari Residency (Treis Elies, Cyprus). Her writings have been published at BMJ Global, Hakara: Bi-lingual Journal, Art Dose Zine and others. She is also the founding member of the NGO- Jeevan Stambh Foundation started during the pandemic in 2020, and Artreach India’s Apprenticeships, Internships and Mentorships (AIM) manager.