As part of their two-month-long residency at the Last Ship, city-based filmmaker and visual artist Natasha Mendonca and US-based non-fiction filmmaker Nellie Kluz decided to work on an interdisciplinary art exhibition about the element of chance and improvisation in Mumbai. The result is Across Upon, a video dialogue focusing on the ephemeral and sensual aspects of everyday life.
The event will include 15 new videos by Klruz and Mendonca, an installation made just for this show by visiting guest artist Brydee Rood (NZ), a performance by Suman Sridhar and film screenings on December 17 of Jan Villa by Mendonca and Young Bird Season by Kluz. Videos will be screened all over the residency space so that the audience can move around, look at the work, talk to the artists and each other while experiencing dance, music and performance.
Speaking about the exhibition and her experience at the residency, Kluz says, “It involved plenty of going out into the city and finding people to film — people working, eating, sometimes sleeping, doing regular activities and trying to capture small moments on video. This stuff is happening all the time, so, it became mostly about putting myself in the right places so that I would be likely to find good situations. I like railway stations for that reason.”
Mendonca states that she worked like a scrap collector with visuals. “I spend much time accumulating what brews inside me. Then it comes out in a flash or sometimes I toil over the idea for months. Usually, I tend to shoot a lot to make an archive of sorts and then sew it together like a patchwork quilt. The logistical and thematic set-up for the exhibition took us two weeks and my videos have been made over two years,” says Mendonca, adding that despite being from the city, shooting during different times of the day and night exposed her to many layered realities.
For Kluz, one of the major challenges came from the fact that she had never been to Mumbai or India before and had little time to prepare herself beforehand: “It was challenging to even get around here and keep from getting too lost. I wasn’t able to plan what I wanted to film and try to contact the subjects beforehand. The unplanned nature of my shooting has led to some good results that I couldn’t have expected. It’s what I like about documentaries — the element of surprise.”
Watch out for…
One of the highlights of the exhibition will be is the live installation project by visiting artist Brydee Rood from New Zealand. It revolves around how we relate to waste and trash and to the environment. Brydee’s installation uses materials collected from a mangrove swamp and sounds from the city to convey this message.
Mendonca is also excited to be collaborating with Suman Sridhar at the event: “She will push the limits of music and sound in this performance; it’s exciting to collide creatively with her and Brydee. Suman’s spoken word performances are all about Bombay and so, thematically they tie in with the rest of the show.”