Bodies at Sea

2022

Archives Exhibition at NCBS ( National Centre of Biological Sciences, Bangalore)

​Artist and Curatorial Lead: Devika Sundar

Exhibition Design Lead: Kamini Rao / Studio Slip

 

Hiding in the Deep

“We each have a body and our inhabiting of that body is a deeply ambivalent experience.  Our bodies are simultaneously us and not us: intimately familiar, yet unfathomably mysterious. The body is a source of anxiety, desire, dread and intense fascination.”

-Astrida Neimanis, Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water

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Bodies at Sea, Devika Sundar

Just as the deep sea holds and retains hidden remnants of all that it has repressed and swallowed, our bodies carry and muffle our stories, scars, baggage and memories within its submerged chambers, channels and streams. We are not static, marked or contained entities as seen through the sterile boundaries and frames of maps and scans, reports and manuscripts. Instead, I imagine the body as a sum of amorphous, blurred, watery, fragmented forms. Forms in rhythmic states of flux and transition; continuously rippling, rupturing, restoringand reviving ourselves.

Journal Pages <1 -3>, Devika Sundar

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“We each have a body and our inhabiting of that body is a deeply ambivalent experience.  Our bodies are simultaneously us and not us: intimately familiar, yet unfathomably mysterious. The body is a source of anxiety, desire, dread and intense fascination.”

Joanna Ebenstein, Anatomica: The Exquisite and Unsettling Art of Human Anatomy 

The Ayurvedic Man, pen and watercolour, 18th Century. Wellcome Library, London

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"The Uncanny Ocean"

We have always been intrigued by the ocean, fascinated by the mystery of its uncharted layers, territories and beds. Through history and folklore, the sea has been speculated to home mystical, supernatural creatures and fantastical monsters, living and bubbling deep under its surface. Water deities and sea gods span across mythology, revered and worshipped across time by civilisations and communities that lived by the sea. 

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Album leaf. Deity. Vishnu as Matsya and Telugu inscriptions. Painted on paper (European). © The Trustees of the British Museum

“The Uncanny Ocean” Symposium 2021 - A proposition by: Ayesha Hameed, Head Geneve, Monday 22 March, 2021

https://www.hesge.ch/head/en/event/2021/uncanny-ocean-master-symposium  Poster designed by Marlie Mul 

“Who has known the ocean? Neither you nor I, with our earth-bound senses, know the foam and surge of the tide that beats over the crab hiding under the seaweed of his tide-pool home; or the lilt of the long, slow swells of mid-ocean, where shoals of wandering fish prey and are preyed upon […]Nor can we know the vicissitudes of life on the ocean floor, where sunlight, filtering through a hundred feet of water, makes but a fleeting, bluish twilight, in which dwell sponge and mollusk and starfish and coral, where swarms of diminutive fish twinkle through the dusk like a silver rain of meteors, and eels lie in wait among the rocks. Even less is it given to man to descend those six incomprehensible miles into the recesses of the abyss, where reign utter silence and unvarying cold and eternal night.

 

- Rachel Carson: Marine Biologist/ Environmentalist , Edge of the Sea

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Image by Prashun Thipaiah

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