Merging spaces


The Gingerbread Temple

After the long tiring walk of 500 biscuit steps, the two vagabonds finally reached the temple. The tower like top was constructed with stacks of pancakes,  with hints of blueberry syrup oozing out through the crevices. The tip was adorned with a bright, juicy cherry.

Huge, enormous pillars of macarons and cookies ornamented the entrance. The tiles made of cookie butter with a hint of sprinkles lay the path towards the idol. A delicate chandelier of meringues hung from the central dome of the temple, with light blue and pink pigments. The idol of the gingerbread man, placed on a  pedestal was awaiting his devotees.

Two smaller sections with smaller idols were made on both sides of the main temple. With ice cream sandwich steps and glazed tiles, it welcomed the worshippers towards the cupcake idols, placed in front of grand walls embedded with sprinkles, and donned with pillars of candy. The crown of these smaller temples were topped with caramel and whipped cream.

The two hungry, exhausted kids stared at all the food around them, said their prayers, and left. 


Five Senses: Installation

The Mango Projectimage1

The memory we choose to recreate evoking all the senses is the everlasting memory of summer. When we first thought of creating this season, we thought of re-creating something intrinsic to the summers we have experienced in the past. We use nostalgia of our warm childhood summers filled with the vibrant and delicious essence of the mango.

Apart from the scorching heat, the arrival of hay-filled crates in our house, is the biggest memory we all seem to have about this season. In order to recreate the memory we first thought of creating an art installation with this iconic fruit. We would instil the different texture, taste and smell of the mangoes in a minimalistic fashion. However instead of being too obvious, we then changed our idea and decided to create the memory of summer without the fruit. With the use of crates, we plant certain memories in each one; each crate focussing on different sense, yet not isolating  smell and visuals in any.

Group Members: Jhanvi, Riya, Janemajay, Vaibhavi, Manah, Khyati.

Sense of Sound: Final Music Video


The eternal question still lays ringing in all our minds. Are we really safe in the world we live in? I am a girl, I am a boy, I am a human. Each human irrespective of gender, caste, sex, status is left vulnerable when it comes to sexual assault. Our music video is a social statement against sexual assault. The video emphasizes on the fact that any individual can be dangerous and any individual can be in danger.

Go watch it now:

Sense of Sound: Music Video

The eternal question still lays ringing in all our minds. Are we really safe in the world we live in? I am a girl, I am a boy, I am a human. Each human irrespective of gender, caste, sex, status is left vulnerable when it comes to sexual assault. It’s a trauma, which leaves a person scarred in a massive manner forever. Our music video is somewhat a social statement against sexual assault. The video emphasizes on the fact that any individual can be dangerous and any individual can be in danger. We have shown no direct contact between the women who molests the man through her mere demeanor and mannerisms and the rest is left to imagination. Body language is key in this video to show how much discomfort a mere glare can put someone in. The condescending stare of the woman towards the man shows that she already has it all planned in her mind. She fears nothing and he fears it all. The rewind at the end of the video puts you in a state of confusion. Was the woman really there? What really happened? Does SHE exist? The eeriness of the music we created seemed to go well with this story and therefore we used this platform of a music video to send out a social message that we strongly believe in.

No matter how powerful, man or woman can be violated and made extremely vulnerable in a matter of sexual assault. This is something that should be left engraved in each individuals mind.

NO he didn’t want it.

YES someone should believe him.

I didn’t LET this happen to me.

YES I am a man.

Sense of Sound: Assignment 2

Sound and Film

The night after reading Theory of the Film: Sound by Bela Balazs, I realised how dependent I was to the sound of the air conditioner to sleep. As I walked towards my car the next morning, I noticed how accustomed I was to the sound of the car cleaners splashing water on the cars every day.  As my day passed on, I tried to pin point every sound that I was so used to hearing, but didn’t take notice of.

The sense of sound is one of the most underrated yet powerful tools, especially in the art of film making. The detailed sounds, background noises and even the silences all sum up to invoke different types of feelings and emotions in the viewer. There are a lot of everyday sounds we ignore, yet a movie has the privilege of heightening these sounds to create suspense, or make the viewer anxious. When these simple ignored sounds are heard distinctly, it gives a sense of space and the extent of silence in the film.It is also amusing how just being observant of these sounds can almost make us nervous, which tells that how less attention we pay to our sense of sound. 

A good example of intimate sounds is the kitchen scene in the movie Jurrassic Park. Here the scene starts off with no background sound, yet highlighting ordinary, overlooked sounds. The clanking of the metal door, switching off of the lights, footsteps echoing in the empty room; all act like precursors for the final grunt of a dinosaur, which is not even that loud without the build up created. All these prominent sounds make the viewer more aware of the situation and their sensitivity to the sounds also increases. If at such a moment, suddenly a loud sound is played, the viewer would be frightened and probably even scream as a reaction to the auditory jerk they receive. Even while watching the movie if the viewer is eating pop corn, they would consciously become more aware of even the biting noise of the pop corn in their mouth in this scene of the film. It almost makes one feel as if they are in the space itself, making the scene more realistic.

While sounds are specifically heightened in a movie with detail and intimacy, they aren’t completely isolated. In any scene, background noise constantly plays, making the scene more realistic. These sounds fill in the space or the environment tried to be created, and set a mood for the viewer.

Like in the movie Final Destination 2, a scene of a death in an apartment is constructed with the help of the background sounds. A loud music starts off in the background, which binds all the activities happening. The sound of the gas being turned on, the simmering of the food on  the pan; all happening simultaneously with the loud, rock music playing. Things get more chaotic when the microwave starts crackling and creating sounds, along with the smoke alarm’s constant beeping. The ringing of the phone at the same time adds another layer to these overlapping sounds. The audibility of each sound is so clear, and none of them have been drowned out, making the viewer feel confused as to where to focus, just like the protagonist in the film. So the emotions of the subjects have almost been transferred to the audience through the discord of sounds created.

The scene wouldn’t have been as effective if any of the sounds were to be isolated or eliminated. Taking the same popcorn example here too, the chewing sound would not bother the viewer at all, as a loud, noisy mood has been established.

Another way of designing sound, is by tapping memories of the viewer. Some sounds are recognised by the ear, reason being as to whether we’ve heard them all our lives, or we relate to them with specific things. However most of the times these sounds re accompanied by visuals, so we don’t realise our familiarity with them. But what if the visual were to be removed and one was to only rely on the sense of sound? It would be more difficult as the ear is not used to it, yet it is not impossible.

In the raid scene of the movie Zero Dark Thirty, the visuals are very unclear and in some parts almost pitch black. Yet the sound of the helicopter,  and that of the commandos preparing their ammunition, with an engine sound in the back, constantly keeps shifting. Repetition is used to make the viewer be able to recognise the two different activities happening in the same scene. So even when one can’t see a thing, the helicopter wings helps to distinguish the change of space. There is also a constant sound of the cricket, which one relates to as night time. Even though it is not a literal reference, the basic conditioning of the ear is used to make these connections.  Also the sounds of bullets being shot, doesn’t have a visual along with it, but you can make out that it’s  hitting a metal surface.  Here sound helps us identify different materials too without seeing or feeling them. The moment the beeping tone starts playing, there is a sense that something has gone wrong, as we relate to this sound as being an emergency or alerting sound.This scene is a good example of how we use memory to track the sounds we hear.

Good sound designing of a film forms the backbone of making the viewer experience every action happening throughout the movie. It is one of the most crucial parts, yet not much credit is given to it in the overall putting together of the film. It also has a lot to do the human psychology, of how  different sounds affect a person’s emotions. They weave the entire film together, leaving you with an intimate connection with it.

Trance Music

trance: [trans, trahns] 


 a half-conscious state, seemingly between sleeping and waking, in which ability to function voluntarily may be suspended.


A deviation from mainstream music in the 1990s, trance music emerged as the new cult in the history of music. Using fast beats, repetition and the absence of lyrics, music aficionados believe that trance music transports the listener into a completely different dimension. Today every club, party or concert is all about trance music, and people swear by the effect of this genre of music. 

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is a sub genre of trance, which became more popular with the abundance of djs now creating this kind of music from their homes as well. The popularity of this genre has led to the explosive growth of production applications that has made the creation of this genre of music easy and on a wider scale that it has been in the past.

 In 2014, I had the experience of an EDM concert when I went for the Swedish House Mafia concert in Mumbai, a trio of djs from Sweden, world renown for their EDM music. The concert was held at Mahalaxmi racecourse, a huge open ground that could easily accommodate thousands of frenzied fans of the new emerging music genre. Before the concert, I had had a few drinks, and was nothing more than just tipsy. The trio arrived and the concert was in full force with people were dancing and cheering to trance-infused beats of the Swedish sensations. In the beginning I too was dancing to the music, but soon my high had drained out and I was left in a melee of people inebriated by the music. It was after the loss of my high, when I actually noticed how bad the concert was!

 The place was over-crowded and everyone was on top of each other with people jumping, stepping on each other, and not caring enough about whom they were hurting. Standing in that crowd, you were touched by everyone around you, yet none cared. It was a crowd of youngsters aged 15 and over, high on alcohol and drugs, enjoying the space as if they were alone. They seemed to be out of control of what they were doing. However fun this thought may sound, the idea of feeling like you’re in another world, I realized it wasn’t the music which made one go into the sense if ‘trance’, but it was the concoction all the other external factors where music just acted as a catalyst. The atmosphere made me feel claustrophobic and disgusted and the music didn’t even help me feel elevated. Probably the heat and the crowd surpassed the power of my high and the impact of the music on me, but does that really mean you can enjoy trance music only in a state of intoxication?

 I personally feel that if the atmosphere hadn’t been as claustrophobic and dusty as it was, and probably if the location was different, maybe I would have enjoyed the music better. Maybe I would have felt the music alone. Or perhaps if I was in a weed infused half-conscious state, I wouldn’t have been affected by these external factors.

 The same year, I went for a Sufi concert in Turkey. The ambience was completely different; with people seated on diwans in an open auditorium at night. The music was slow, played by a Ney, a flute. The visuals were just of people in white taking circles, and simply spinning in a very stable fashion. This music made me feel as though I were in a state of trance as I watched the Sufi dervishes spinning in their long robes. I was not under the influence of any kind of drug or alcohol, but still felt hypnotised by the atmosphere and the music environment. It felt as though nothing else mattered, the feeling of letting go is what took over me, and when the music stopped, I was dazed. It was a spiritual kind of upliftment.

In this case the spinning of the dervishes helped create the illusion of being in a state of hypnosis, and I found this experience better than the previous one. Maybe that has to do something with the kind of person that I am. I’m not the type to lose complete control of myself which is why I did not like my experience at the concert at racecourse which created a disgusting and overcrowded atmosphere of frenzy. For me the atmosphere created by the performance is completely responsible for the response you have to music and the Sufi concert appealed to me because of the calm and soothing, but yet a dreamy state that it put me in. 

 Interestingly in both the genres of music, no lyrics were used. This makes me question the relation of wordless music to the state of trance. Probably the blankness and emptiness of the music allows people to render it in with their own thoughts and emotions, making the music a piece of their own. It may also help in taking the music within themselves which causes the new dimension of trance.

 If I would sit in my room and just play some EDM, it would be like noise to me. I would personally get irritated with the fast beats. Here again the question that arises is that does it mean that one has to be in a state of intoxication of either drugs or alcohol to feel the essence of the beats? Today, in our generation everyone is open to everything, and they don’t hesitate to try something new just for the “kick” of it. But can trance be translated as meditation as well keeping in mind the example of Sufi music, instead of being something reckless, loud, can it also be something calming and soothing?

Sense of Sound: Line of the Dead







I’m walking slowly towards the shining light, but everyone else is way ahead of me.

I need to speed up, catch up to the others.

I’m taking bigger strides now, at pace with some.

But I need to be more hasty, this is not enough.

I’m running now, ahead of everyone else.

The light is moving faster than me. I need to get it, achieve it, have it.

It’s racing me now, I’m getting at par with it.

I can almost touch it now! Just three steps more!

One, two……

Riya Ranka


The eerie thumping goes on and on, louder and louder,

Like the hands of death commemorating your impending faith. 

To a passerby it might sound ordinary, just a beat, 

but he knows too well the sound of defeat. 

Slowly metamorphosing into a jarring beep, 

That was almost making him weep, 

The melancholy ringing loud and clear,

Now it was near. 

Despite all odds, he harboured hope 

That this pace would stay on, 

 And give hims another chance to make it right,

Even if he just had mown the lawn. 

But you know what they say about hope, 

It’s a dirty word and even dirtier feeling.

A few incessant, quick beeps went past, 

that finished him at last. 

Jhanvi Lathia

Walking DEAD.

We walk a monotonous walk each day, with stress crawling and creeping into our bodies. She becomes a parasite, unwilling to leave. She feeds on us and grows on us. We stress about stress before there’s even stress-to-stress about. We all become these robots who succumb to this leech, this outright monster. In this corporate ruling life, we are all walking dead.

The continuous beeping of our lifeline rings in my ears each day. It’s a constant reminder that there is so much left to do and such a behemoth life yet to live. We are all so small and yet so insignificant in this behemoth world. Instead of letting this corporate life with its sidekick stress rule us, we should be out there experiencing life. We should be living not merely existing. Not robots. We aren’t an invention we are the real deal.

That constant beep is still in my ear. Sometimes its fast, sometimes its slow. But it is always loud, even when it is soft. I can’t just exist and walk on. I need to live. I need to live while it is still beeping. I need to live before the beep stops beeping. I need to live before I reach that flat line. It’s a scary road, this life that they call it. It’s alone and it’s eerie. There are footsteps walking along with me. Everyday I remind myself it isn’t over yet, there’s so much yet to come. I cannot be walking dead.

Ananya Thakkar

Sacred and the Visual


Vishnu Kimbell Art Museum

Chola Bronze sculptures date back to the 9th century, and were made by the patrons of the Chola Dynasty in South India. The beauty of these structures lie in their unfinished colour and details, along with the process in which they were made. The ‘cire perdue’ or the lost wax process was used, where the sculptures were first moulded in wax, and covered with a layer of stone, finally  after exposing to high heat,  they were broken open to reveal the sculpture.

This Chola Bronze statue is of the Hindu god Vishnu.With broad shoulders and a muscular physique he stands upright in posture, with the legs perfectly balanced and positioned. The icons that help us identify it’s Vishnu, are the discus and conch shell in his hands.

The gestures or mudras of his hand are yet delicate to the contrasting masculine appeal.

What I find fascinating about the sculpture is that it displays physical strength along with composure at the same time, making Vishnu look desirable and as the ideal man. Areas of power are ornamented like the head and shoulders along with the prominent fissure at the pubic region too. Interestingly these areas are also linked to the erogenous male zones.

Although the sculpture is of a religious deity, these slight tones imply otherwise. The posture is not sexual at all, yet the expression on the face with closed eyes and a content smile can have a double interpretation. The structure and aesthetics of the sculpture also give us an insight into the idealistic body types of that time, as the gods are always depicted in the most appealing way. The beauty of the visual lies in its innocent nature with a hint of intimacy in the most subtle way possible.

“The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India.” Accessed February 10, 2015.

Accessed February 10, 2015.



The Ketjak is a form of dance originated in Bali. it is a trance ritual which began in the 1930s, to ward out evil and death in a small village called Bona. The ritual was originally performed every six months, where over 200 men circle around a fire and chant the words ‘kac kac kac’ in unison. The story of the Ramayana is reenacted in the centre, where no musical instruments or words are used. The sole supporter are the chants of the men which aid the story.

The voice modulation changes at different times, with chanting at different pitches. They shake heir hands, stand up and sit down, all in a single place without much movement. The dancers in the centre are dress with elaborate head gears and very prominent eye makeup. At all times of the performance their eyes are wide open, with changing expressions. The hand movements of the dancers too are stark and crisp, yet intricate.

The attire the chanting men wear is simply a checkered skirt, with a hibiscus on the side of their head. The dancers wear bright coloured costumes, yet not heavily ornamanted. There is more play with the fabric colours rather than heavy work.

Another important aspect of the performance is the visual depiction of the characters of Ramayana in Balinese culture. Rama is depicted as violent as opposed to his calm nature in the Ramayana by Valmiki, and even Ravana is represented as having only one head. The Rakshasas and Hanuman wear similar masks, making Hanuman look like them.

The form has its roots as a dance of exorcism, known as the Sanghayng. It was performed to drive out evil, and it’s dancers performed it in a trance.

Overall, having experienced the performance myself, I feel to some extent the true nature of the ritual, with its dark and exorcist trance and mood is quite lost today. Audiences were not welcome to the original chanting of the people.

The truest form of Ketjak is unknown to most, making it even more mysterious and alluring.

“Kecak Dance, Bali – Tale of RAMAYANA – Entry of Hanuman.” YouTube. Accessed February 10, 2015.

“Kecak’s Origin: The Dance That Saved a Village.” Kecak’s Origin: The Dance That Saved a Village. Accessed February 10, 2015.

Review: In the Mood for Love

The movie In the Mood for Love, 2000, directed by Kar Wai Wong is set up in Hong Kong 1962. The movie starts with a young, attractive woman Mrs. Chan, talking to her land lady over renting an apartment. As soon as she is done, a young man, Mr. Chow, in a suit with his hair sleeked back, yet looking timid, rents the apartment opposite hers. Here starts the poetic love story of the two.

“It is a restless moment. She has kept her head lowered to give him a chance to come closer. But he could not for lack of courage. She turns and walks away.”

In the Mood for Love. Focus Feature, 2000. Film.

The movie is about an innocent affair between Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan, both married and being cheated on by their spouses. Yet the movie and the relationship between the two is not hurtful and deceptive, but is subtle, elegant and respectable. The visual factors contribute a lot in emphasising on the beauty of love and innocent hearts.

The sets are designed in a chic, vintage style; with mint green worn out walls, floral printed lampshades, and light pastel curtains. The apartment of the landlady is always crowded and noisy, yet the director manages to draw the attention towards the protagonists even in such places. Even at the roadside noodle joint, or when the entire family plays cards, one can’t sense the feeling of being cramped and the heat, and makes the scene look pleasant.

In terms of location, the staircase is a significant place, as it gives a sense of the passage of time only by the number of times Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chow cross their paths under the same light, just wearing different outfits. Interestingly no other hints to show time passing are given, which almost makes the movie feel like stills of the same day. The weather is also shown as a constant, with the only variation of it raining at night.

Another amusing way the director plays with spaces is the use of corridors, whether it is a small one where the two encounter while moving into the apartment, or whether the long hallways of the hotel creating drama. Even though in this particular shot Mrs. Chow is alone, the attraction and the sexual tension that she undergoes is so prominent, and the fact that the two share such a chaste relationship contrasts with her feelings, yet fits seamlessly.

The music in the movie too, builds up a dialogue by itself. At certain points in the movie,the same music plays over and over again, and so strong is the character of its rhythm, that there is a forceful focus only on Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan, regardless of anything else that goes on in the background.  Taking an example from a scene where the spouses of Mr. Chan and Mrs. Chan, both are present with them, yet the minute the music starts, the only thing you notice in the scene is the brief look these two protagonists share, completely disregarding everyone else. The music itself creates moments, and if one were to just see these clippings, it would create a powerful love story independently.

The use of repetition as a tool is noticeable, in terms of the music and certain imagery; such as the clock, the fan and the blue tiffin box. These three objects help the viewer identify with the places it signifies, but also has some kind of symbolic quality. For example, the clock symbolises Mrs. Chow’s office life, where one expects her to either be on the typewriter or talking to her boss’s wife. So one builds memories and connections with these objects even if they don’t see the actual action happening. The fan is significant of the apartment hall, where the family of the landlords have a meal, or play games; and the tiffin box is a sign of her loneliness, when she eats alone. As she starts spending more time with Mr. Chow, the frequency of her using her tiffin also reduces.

Additionally, the costumes, especially those of Mrs. Chan, simultaneously give clues and hints of their own. She is always seen wearing slim fit, high neck Chinese collar dresses, giving a very uptight appearance. Throughout the movie her hair is seen tied up in a tousled yet perfect up do, but at the end she’s seen with her haircut short, yet open, maybe as a sign that she’s free and has let go of her past and her husband.

The colours that she wears also progress and change with her love life. In the beginning of the movie, when her husband is in town, she is seen wearing bright blues,and red prints. But when he leaves, and she is lonesome, she wears dull greys, and maroons. However the colours, florals and bright prints make a way back into her wardrobe when she starts spending time with Mr. Chan. It almost feels like her personal style could be graphed in a way to map her love life.

Even though there is a change in the colour palettes of her costumes throughout the movie, every outfit is well synchronised with the shades around her throughout. The interiors always compliment her, with violets, light greens, blues and pastels being the dominant colours.

In contrast to the above hues, the scene in the hotel room is more eye catching than the rest of the scenes due to its palette. Mrs. Chan dressed in a red coat, running up the spiralling staircase and through the long hallway of red curtains screams out passion, fear and danger; all three emotions which illustrate the moment.

Visually, the movie is sophisticated, and muted, almost giving a feel of a still life painting to me, with everything well positioned and synchronised. ‘Delicate’ and ‘soft’ are the words that combine the way I see the movie as well as the emotion it creates.

The love story, simple yet with no ‘happy ending,’  pleases the spectator, and leaves behind a sense of nostalgia, undoubtedly igniting the mood for love.