Kattaikkuttu Sangam has two water bodies on either side of it. The Aiyankarkulam on one side and the Punjarasanthankal lake on the other. August has been a rainy month here. It is refreshing to see water back up on the surface. I take many walks around here before and after my sessions with the children. I find my spots and park myself there. Some moving images from the recent sittings.
Session Time structure – Week 01:
11:45 – I get the paper ready for their drawing.
12:00 – We meet at our spot – talk – settle down, go over the previous sessions, make note of any new observations, feelings, thoughts.
12:15 – We work on one exercise and repeat it as many times and as slowly as we can – talk about it, redraw.
1:00 – The children finish their drawings give it to me and go for lunch – the last few sessions ran into 1:15.
1:45 – I wrap up the papers, put away stationery, make a few quick notes then join them for lunch.
The Exercises – Week 01:
- Day 01 & 02: To walk the campus, look around for an object – a leaf, a stone – anything that calls out to them. Pause and notice why it is calling out to them. How do they feel when it calls out and why they pick up that one thing alone. Spend time with it and look for a few minutes – at their flower, twig, half eaten leaf, mushroom. Then they identify a small portion within it, observe it carefully and draw it enlarged to fit their exercise paper.
- Day 03: To sit quietly for just a few minutes, eyes closed. Together we listen to the sounds we hear around us. The crickets, the cicadas, different birds flying around at varying heights and distances, the rare crow at kattaikkuttu, cows and cow herds calling out to their friends and other cows, goats and the goat herds, passers by on the road by foot, on bike, with phone, vehicles, a near by pencil box, a tapping pencil, fidgeting, dogs, sound of people inside the school building, breeze, trees in the breeze and so on. Then they go away and find a spot somewhere in the campus sit and listen to the sounds. Hearing the sounds they put their pencils on paper and move as the sound guides them.
- Day 04: Today there was a nice afternoon breeze. They picked a spot – identified a tree, a blade of grass, a plant – rooted into the ground. Sat with it, listened. See the tree in the wind and the wind in the tree, move with it, like it. Place pencil on paper and see pencil draw it out. Repeated with the same or another tree, plant.
- Day 05: They picked a spot – identified a bug, an insect, a worm, a fly – a moving organism, small. Watch it. Give it time. Put pencil on paper and follow it’s path.
- Day 06 (a): Composition session. Picked a new spot, sat there and combined all of the above exercises into one single drawing.
- Day 06 (b): The Ringarotus performance.
- Day 07: Composition.
Core questions from them to me: How do I draw this? How do I shade? Why this exercise? How is my hand doing this?
The core questions from me to them: Why did they choose the tree, grass, bug, beetle or spot? What moved or brought them to it? What was the feeling? What did they notice? Why this exercise? How are their hands doing it?
The Krr Krr Residency at Cholamandal Artists’s Village:
The CCC Residency was very successful. I got started on a 1 by 1 metre accordion form that ran 38 metres long. The studio gave me room to fold out the pages and see the paper. I made large strokes on walls, tables and the floor. With this piece I was attempting to make a first draft version of a long book – which I was hoping to have ready in time for the scheduled krr krr workshops with the children. I got more than I expected.
- piece ( No.12 ) Beige Accordion 125 ft x 3.3 ft was ready in time for a workshop.
- it took 56 days to draw.
- it became the solution to * another body of work I have been invested in alongside the krr krr book.
- i now have one more accordion and a full length performance to take along.
* The Ringarotus – Process:
I realise I like to grow out an idea – catch as much of its lifetime on running paper as I can. It is the process of stalking the idea. For a few years now I have been drawing under a thought about timing, how it nests within static visuals, how I see and express movement; looking closely at what moves the hand.
Physically & emotionally this is a piece for me to realise how much space there is and how quickly, involuntarily all that room gets filled by imagination and gross connections. In terms of practice I’ve thrived on the faith it gave me that this was a meaningful expedition. I’ve had so much fun drawing through the last few years to see the light, play with ink, hold paper, make brushes – let the flow take it’s course and finally perform. Now I want to feel and share the experience of setting ones attention to recognise a phenomenon – sense it, see the closure pass by and do its thing. These moments allow for pauses long enough to feel the pulses as life exchanges itself onto other currents. The absurdity of a life blessed within animated muscular movements of matter reorganising itself along time; this ringarotus.
The Ringarotus – Timeline:
- late 2014: started drawing, studying, writing towards this. making paper models, taking photographs, small videos | core themes: movement, change, body, paper, ink, drawing, sound, feeling, light, time, abstraction.
- 2015: notating crickets and crows; making collages | attending the rhythm portion of the adishakti source of performance energy workshop | first arrangement drawings.
- 2015: drawing 4 walls by 14 nights at adishakti.
- 2016, summer: there – piece ( No.01) rice paper scroll; wooden floors, a balcony | a crossword clue | meeting a master for the first time after 12 years of correspondence || here – a white perforated continuous computer feed stack and many scrolls.
- 2017: figuring ways to use the cracks of a wall to draw, used up most of the scrolls in the process | wall still in progress.
- 2017, summer: food | rehearsals at spaces | piece ( No.12 ) beige accordion 125 ft x 3.3 ft | cholamandal artist residency | a chennai summer by the marshes | yazhini, pcs and meat.
- total drawn volume so far: 1330 feet of scrolls & accordions, 4 books across 339 pages, 30 large and medium size paintings, 30 plus sketchbooks and a few solid piles of papers; a few scroller models with paper and a decent amount of photos and videos.
- a 1 hr 45 min pilot was performed to a close community of artists and friends in 2017, on the 1st of august at spaces in chennai.
- a 1 hr 25 minute version was performed to the students and staff of kattai kuttu sangam in kanchipuram, on the 23rd of august.