curated by Ambereen Karamat. Dhaka Art Summit, February 7-9, 2014.
The second Dhaka Art Summit, held from 7th – 9th Feb 2014 featured a thought-provoking exhibition ‘EX-ist’ curated by Ambereen Karamat of White Turban. Playing with Vilem Flusser’s term from ‘Towards a Philosophy of Photography’, Karamat brought together six exciting Pakistani artists whose works speak of the undeniable ubiquity of images in our 21st century lives. The exhibition compelled viewers to realize and question the filter of images that influence the way we see the world; our surroundings and ourselves.
See press and photos.
Ex-ist is an experience of following an unconscious road map of our everyday lives, enveloped in various images. Our gaze has to wander over the surface of the images feeling the way as we go, following the complex path of the structure of the image on one hand and the observer’s intention on the other. The journey of being charged with just a glance at an image casts a magic spell on our imaginations – emotions are stirred that puts us under a trance, the nature of the still image turns it into moving scenes in our minds. The ostensible function of an image is just to inform, the magic on the surface (images) itself does not bring a change, but it is the power inside us already that influences to imagine better. This practice can evoke both positive and negative experience, and can have a mysterious quality of enchantment through a series of episodic events of looking at an image, that binds together vision, hearing and imagination.
Our lives are filtered through these magical images; they act as screens between man and the world, which allow human beings to “ex-ist”. Present realities are mirrored with the culture encoded with images. They help in construing the world “out there” and are meant to render the thing imaginable for us, by abstracting it, by reducing its four dimensional space-plus-time to the two-dimensions of a plane.
We are living in a world where we are surrounded by redundant images that create a standstill situation in our ever- moving lives. A spell is cast by our cultures drowned in photographic images. The participating artists have learnt to manipulate metal, plastic and glass (the camera) in a way that expresses their ideas. They have dispersed into our stagnant lives by consciously breaking through, playing with the programs of the camera, and entered the photographic universe by creating image of a magic state of things whose symbol informs its receivers how to act in an improbable fashion.
Ex-ist is a term used by Vilem Flusser in his book ‘Towards a Philosophy of Photography’