Site Project by Zoila Solomon
The space that i have chosen is the Nusserrwanji courtyard, i’ve chosen this site becauseit is a place that i spend most of my day at. Ive met so many new people and made so many friends that will last a life time. Its a place where i’ve learnt so much, from my academics to lessons that have changed my life and taught me so much.
Ive chosen to change the space by building a wall of balloons. Ive chosen balloons as a medium because its an object that changes over time, it will change shape and size depending on the conditions it under goes. Some will pop, some will wither due to the sun, some will loose air and die out while others may just be popped by someone passing by. Just like so much has changed for me since i joined Indus and will continue to change in time to come. The audience will be the students, teacher and the friends that ive made at indus.
The space i chose was the Nusserwanji courtyard, but since there was a gallery exhibition that was to take place, i used the garden at the Indus Valley School only because it’s a place where i spend most of my time with my friends or whenever i’m free.
I chose to use balloons as my medium because balloons are objects that lose their shape and size over time and turn out to be something completely different than it’s original form.
At IVS I’ve met so many new people and made so many friends that will last a life time.
Its a place where I’ve learnt so much, from my academics to lessons that have changed my life and taught me so much, like wise these balloons will change over time and turn into something new.
I chose to change the space by building a wall of balloons and observing it over a period of 2 days. Some popped instantly, while others took their time and pooped the next day, some withered due to the sun and lost their air and died out while others were popped by passer by and were written on with a marker – Just like so much has changed for me since i joined Indus and will continue to change in time to come.
The audience were the students, teachers and friends that I’ve made at IVS.
Day 1: When i put up the wall of balloons, some popped that very minute, after an hour or so i saw a few students writing on a few balloons with markers and popped a few. The domestic staff’s daughter came to me and asked me to give her the entire wall of balloons and when i refused she went crying to hermother. Her mother then sent her with Rs 200/= and insisted that i sell the entire wall of balloons to her daughter, when i explained to her that it was part of my assignment and that I couldn’t give her the bunch of balloons, she blamed me for making her daughter cry, saying, “lo, ab aap ne isko rula diya, mood kharab ho gaya is ka”
Day 2: Balloons had popped and lost their shape. Many balloons had messages written on then, such as, “lame shit” which added to how the someone from the audience thought about my work
Day 3: Some one removed the entire wall of balloons.
My work in which I’ve used balloons to build a wall symbolizes change. How an object can change from one form to another, the idea was very personal as it showed how I’ve changed over a period of time at Indus Valley School of art and Architecture, hence I left the wall of balloons to be observed over a period of two days choosing the s chool as my location for this assignment. While trying to build the wall on location a problem that I faced was that some of the balloons started to pop the minute I stringed them together, this was due to the terrible weather condition in our city. Over a period of two days, some balloons lost their shape and air due to the heat, some popped on its own while others were popped by people passing by and some had messages written on them. Through this I showed how change does occur over a period of time, just like how Indus Valley has changed me. I feel that my work is singular because if the space is changed it would not mean the same thing and would not carry the same message that I’m trying to put across. I did consider using my previous school as an option but I wasn’t allowed to put any sort of work up there. Here at Indus, when this wall was set up, many people knew it was an assignment hence they did not question it or did not react differently to it because they are used to seeing work/ installations around campus. Whereas on the other hand those that aren’t exposed to work like this, reacted differently, for example, the domestic staff and their children demanded to have the balloons. One of them forced me to pull out a few and give it to her daughter and upon refusing to do so, she blamed me for making her daughter cry. I personally feel that my work is like Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo’s work. Azevedo made more than a thousand ice sculptures of men sitting in a line and placed them on a flight of stairs out in the sun as part of the Belfast festival at queen’s university in Northern Ireland. These sculptures thawed in an hour under the heat of the day. The figures sit slouched, with legs dangling and no facial expression. The projectwas selected by the curator of the event as a tribute to titanic victims, the short-lived artwork proved to be a powerful expression of the temporary nature of life, and death. Azevedo, through her work tried to show how global warming is affecting the earth and life on it, hence she’s chosen human figures with no specific face detail.
“Change is scary, but not as scary as staying the same forever” – Ms Moem
When one can’t change a situation and is bound to conform to the norms present in that situation, one changes himself without even knowing that a change is taking place.
Last year, in 2013, when i had joined The Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) i came across so many situations that i’ve never been in before. Situations that i wasn’t used to. Situations that required me to stay alert 24/7, situations that required my utmost concentration, at times i’d have to stay up late and pull all nighters, i’d stay up late to provide work that i thought would turn out to be a master piece only to find out the next day that it was turned down because it didn’t look appealing to the eye. I started to meet new people, make new friends who in time became so close to me that i couldn’t imagine life without them. Teachers who became friends and helped me whenever needed. I was put in situations where i felt that i had given it my all but i’d still failed at what i was doing, situations that made me feel that i had made a wrong decision in life and then there were situations that made me feel over the moon, that made me love what i was doing, experiences with friends and teachers that made me love IVS. There was and still is this constant love/ hate relationship that i have with IVS. It has changed me drastically. I’m not the same person that i was before I entered IVS, I’ve changed to a great extent. I’ve become more strong, mentally, compared to what i was before, I know how to handle situations unlike before where i’d go completely crazy and make the wrong decisions that i’d later regret. I have learnt how to deal with a huge work load, and how to work under pressure. Ive learnt how to deal with people, how to talk to people and how to present myself. I feel that my ways of thinking have changed, it’s not locked up in a box like it used to be before, i’ve become more creative and by learning new things and meeting new people and discussing ideas with them, my work has changed too. I clearly remember that when i used to work in A levels, i had no proper concept that i used to work with, if i liked something, i’d just paint it or draw it out. Now i think twice, i go deeper and get to the details, i tend to work around a concept. And i feel that this change has made me a better person, as A.C. Benson, an English essayist, poet and the 28th Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge once said, “Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.”
For my site intervention project i thought of working around the concept of Change. How i’ve change over a period of one year and 11 months while at IVS, how being in this institution and spending most of my time at this institution has changed me and made me a person completely different than i was before i entered this space. Since IVS is a space that changed me, i chose this space as a location to change for my site intervention. The medium that i chose to work with were balloons. I chose to work with an object such as balloons because when filled with air/gas, there is only a certain amount of it that a balloon can take before reaching breaking point, if filled with an adequate amount, a balloon can retain it’s shape for at least a day before it starts to lose air and whiter or even pop under harsh weather conditions. Hence, I thought of using a balloon to represent a situation that i was put under and how when put under different situations, an object changes differently just like i changed differently according to different situations while at IVS. For my project i used strings of balloons to form a wall, to show how different situations have built me up to form a solid wall. Situations that make me and break me at the same time. This wall of balloons was set up at IVS to change a space, only because IVS is a space when i’ve changed drastically. After setting up the wall, i left it over a period of two days to observe the change that the balloons would undergo. The minute i put up the wall, some balloons started to pop due to the heat of that day that it was exposed to, just like when i entered IVS i was exposed to a certain amount of work load that i had not experienced when i was doing my A levels, at that time i felt that the work load was too much for me and that IVS is not a place where i’d survive very easily. My sister had written a comment on one of the balloons and left a marker at the site, after a day when i revisited the site, i saw that the audience had left comments for me on a few balloons that had decided to exist for a while longer and not pop. Some comments read: “Lame shit”, “Balloons make me happy”, “Ali was here”. This reminded me of how people at IVS entered my life and have left a mark on me, some whom i’m good friends with others who came and left. A mixture of positive and negative remarks on the balloons also reminded me of all the positive and negative changes that i went through and all the positive and negative remarks that i got from family and friends about my work. After the first day when i revisited the site I also noticed that quite a few of the balloons had popped and left their remains on the grass below, this reminded me of how their were times when i would completely break down and lose hope, thinking that I could not cope up with IVS and that this was too much for me to handle but on the other hand there were a few balloons that were still surviving, just like the positive things in life, such as friends, family and teachers that helped me get along and made me believe in myself. They made me believe that life is not a bed of roses that one must go through harsh conditions to achieve something in life. Those harsh situations have made me a stronger person today, i’ve learnt more from the tough times that i’ve been put in than those that made me happy. After observing the balloons over a period of two days when i revisted my site i noticed that the wall of balloons had been taken down by someone. No remains left, no sign of any balloon. This was completely un expected. I was hoping to observe and photograph what the wall had gone through after two days but was unable to do so because of someone completely removing it. This reminded me of how unexpected things kept happeneing to me. I didn’t expect myself to change so much while i was at IVS, i didn’t expect myself to turn into a completely different person than i was back in 2012. This change was completely un expected, i didn’t notice what was happening to me until i had friends point it out to me, i had friends coming up to me and telling me that i’ve changed, telling me that my work has changed, telling me that i’m not the same Zoila that i was before, just like the wall that had changed and wasn’t in it’s original form after undergoing certain situations.
Initially when i had thought of this idea, i tried placing the wall in my previous O level school but the pricipal did not allow me to do so only becuause she thought it would be a distraction to the students in that school. I then thought of putting it up at IVS because more than any other place, I’ve changed the most here, hence when put up at IVS i knew that many students and teachers would not respond much to it only because they are used to seeing installations and various art works put up around campus but those who were not used to it would react differently and i was proved right when a domestic staff member’s little daughter came up to me and asked me to hand over all the balloons to her, upon refusal she went whining and crying to her mother who then sent a 100 rupee note with her daughter in hopes that i’d accept the money and give her the balloons, it took me a good five minutes to explain to the mother that it was an assignment and i could not give the balloons to her daughter after which she accused me for making her daughter cry she said, “Lo, aap ne toh choti ko rula diya, aik doh gubaara hi de deti, uss mein kon si bari baat hai. Mood kharaab ho gaya iss ka ab” Therfore i feel that my work is singular because if the space is changed it would not mean the same thing and would not carry the same message that I’m trying to put across.
My entire project reminded me of artist Nele Azevedo’s work. Azevedo is a sculptor and independent researcher. Having studied from São Paulo State University Arts Institute (UNESP 2003) she holds a Masters degree in Visual Arts and a Bachelos’ degree in Fine Arts from Santa Marcelina College (1997). Azevedo has been working with urban interventions since 2001 and most of her work revolves around sculptures. I felt that my wall of balloons was more like Azevedo’s work titled, “Melting Men” which is a series of art installations from the Minimum Monument project. Azevedo has been setting up her Melting Men in various countries around the world. Melting men are tiny figures carved out of ice and placed on steps in various parts of the world where the artist has exhibited. The artist places thousands of these ice sculptures out in the sun and waits for them to melt away. According to the Daily Mail, “The project started with solitary figures, later a multitude of small sculptures of ice were placed in public spaces of several cities. The memory is inscribed in the photographic image and shared by everyone. It is not reserved to great heroes nor to great monuments.”
Azevedo’s figures start off with having a few features such as a nose, two eyes and lips but after a few minutes they start to changed due to the heat of the sun, some were picked by the audience who waited for it to melt in their hands while others clicked pictures and watched it change and melt away.
This reminded me of how the balloons changed when put out in the sun, of how the audience wrote on the balloons and of how the balloons changed shape and form from being a bag full of air to little pieces of latex lying on the grass.
What i really love about Azevedo’s work is that it can’t be bought or preserved, it changes over time and takes a completely different form, from something solid to water that runs downs stairs.
What really struck me was that things change, people change, situations change but it doesn’t always mean that it’s negative. It changes for the positive too, sometimes the results can be unexpected while at times it can be as simple a change as ice melting into water.