an ode to the balcony;
Smarter Digital Realities Residency
Goethe Institut Bangalore and Sandbox Collective
[curated by Padmini Ray Murray]
Video / Painting / Mixed Media
Watercolour, Tea, Pen and collage, 56 x 192.5 cm, 2018
Artwork : Devika Sundar
Video and Documentation: Viveka Singh
Music and Sound Design: Nikhil Narendra
On March 22nd 2020, balconies occupied strange socio political symbolism, flooding television media channels, social networking sites and whatsapp groups — as neighborhoods across cities clamoured on their roofs and terraces, banging and clanging bartans, bells and vessels, marking the dawn of the virus and India’s Janta curfew.
Over the last two years, balconies have gradually served as independent, collective and varying spaces of friction and solace...of silence and solitude, of community and togetherness and of momentary escape outside of the claustrophobic confines and walls of our homes.
In this project, I explore the balcony as an intermediary and shared site of experience; occupying an unusual, buffering, liminal space — framing and circling the thresholds and boundaries between our physical and digital, public and private, interior and exterior spheres. “Cautiously masked, we have encountered each other in these spaces that are neither home nor the world, neither in nor out, but a bit of both.”*
During waves of lockdown, those of us fortunate to access or occupy balconies, channeled them as sequestered windows into our outside worlds, each site observing contrasting, differing vantage points, frames, textures and sounds of the city. Through my explorations, I trace our varied personal relationships with the balcony as an intimate site of collective experience. Interpreting, gathering and threading a digital archive of sounds, notes, articles, images, and videos — scrounged from whatsapp chat archives, shared voice memos, instagram stories and albums, internet articles, phone libraries and journal entries — we illustrate and evoke a cartographic ode to the balcony: