A canvas for music

Updated: 06 August, 2020 12:14 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

A musician is recreating a Truman Show-like experience with a residency inside a SoBo art gallery

The room at Method where  Abhi Meer is creating music as part of his residency at the art gallery
The room at Method where Abhi Meer is creating music as part of his residency at the art gallery

Isolation can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you might discover certain facets of your personality that had remained embedded in the inner recesses of your mind. But on the other, a creeping sense of loneliness can gnaw you up from inside like a worm that's biting through an apple. Abhi Meer is a musician who felt the force of this duality during the lockdown. He was reading the Collected Works 12 by the Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung, when a passage struck him. "It talked about how being alone might be your biggest test, and the part of your psyche that comes out might be the most formidable one," Meer tells us.

These are the sort of ruminations that led to Isoxia, a musical project for which the Mumbaikar conjoined two words – hypoxia, which is a medical term for a suffocating feeling, and isolation. Meer has taken up a residency at Method Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda, and the idea is to create 20 hours of music spread over five days while cutting himself off from the rest of the world. In a sense, he's shifted his bedroom to the gallery and fitted a camera there to create a Truman Show-like experience for viewers, since he is live streaming his creative process from 4 pm to 8 pm for the rest of this week.

Abhi Meer
Abhi Meer

It offers viewers a voyeuristic window into the system that goes behind composing a piece of music. Meer sits surrounded by the tools of his trade, tinkering with his machines to layer suitable sounds on top of one another. He's like the emperor with new clothes, exposed to everyone who logs in to watch him in action. That doesn't bother him, though. Meer says, "I am not someone who is making music for my own pleasure. I want it to be heard by other people. I am the conduit between the instruments and the listener."

He also adds that the sense of isolation he has willingly embraced has had a direct impact on his music. "The change in time and space has affected the temperament of the compositions," he admits. That's reflected in the ambient nature of the sounds he creates, which someone like Bill Murray's character in the movie Lost in Translation might switch on when he's sitting alone in his faraway hotel room in Japan. They might even make for the soundtrack for the times we are all stuck in, because it's not just Meer. The double-edged sword of isolation is hanging over most of us right now.

Till August 7, 4 pm
At Method Art Space, Kala Ghoda

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First Published: 06 August, 2020 09:16 IST

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