The past and present of motion images

Feb 11, 2014, 08:55 IST | Swapnal Tilekar

Three questions with Pune-based art designer Amit Belbalkar, who recently displayed his projector based on the concept, Mechanical To Digital, at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival in Mumbai

Pune-based art designer Amit Belbalkar (25) recently displayed his projector based on the concept, Mechanical To Digital, at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival in Mumbai. Filmmaking as an art has evolved to a great extent in the past few years and Belbalkar’s device seeks to revisit the golden era of movie-making and contrast the techniques used then with the ones being used now. Excerpts from an interview:

Amit Belbalkar with his projector 

1. How did you come up with the idea behind this projector?
The concept for this year’s festival was moving images. As an art director and a movie enthusiast, it attracted me and I thought of coming up with a bioscope that depicts the old art of filmmaking which very few people are aware of nowadays. August and Lui Lumiere Bros were one of the first inventors to present the magic of moving images to the world. As soon as the technology was developed, the art started to emerge and spread across the world. India saw the first ever projection of moving images at Coronation Theatre in Mumbai. And that resulted in the unofficial commencement of the Indian film industry. It struck the imagination of generations of directors since then and led to the production of thousands of films. Through this traditional projector, I tried to showcase the way films used to be made. The artwork signified mechanical to digital evolution of motion pictures. It has five viewfinders, so five people can watch it at the same time.

For this projector, I constructed a rotating compact disk with a collage of posters of major motion pictures spanning from the beginning of Indian cinema till now.

The projector on display at the Kala Ghoda fest

2. How was the response at the festival?
I saw a huge response at the festival. People from all age groups came with lots of curiosity and questions related to the technology. Enlightening them with briefs like how a small 30 second to 1 minute clip projected inside it is related to the birth and evolution of moving pictures was a nice experience.

3. Will you be displaying at any other festival?
I am planning to display this projector for the Pune audiences soon but before that I will be taking it to Surat at the Gallery Art and Soul festival this month. As a movie enthusiast, I want people to be familiar with such traditional aspects of filmmaking that have evolved to a great extent lately.

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