In the past few years, sensibilities seem to have been eroded and upended. From conspiracy theories and political upheaval to climate change denial, normalisation of disaster now appears to be the go-to for solutions. Fears over the future encourage obscurity, while enabling immorality; freeing opportunities to reap the benefits of disaster as though it were normal.
Mythical gods and creatures used to be blamed for unsolvable events, regardless of the context. Relieving blame from human actions. While scientists and historians record and analyse events, revealing the consequences of disaster, enabling us to understand and reconcile tragedy. These tragic facts are often repeatedly reviewed to help soothe the torment of disastrous events.
Normalising Disaster features five digital works by South Asian artists exploring core human experiences in the face of disaster; those of emotion and morality. The artworks reveal the blurring of fact and fiction, and the influence speculative theories and technology have on our lives.
Photographs by artist Sarker Protick recall the fading tales of Dhallywood movies, and reflect upon criminal activity and violence in Bangladesh. Vishal Kumaraswamy and Devadeep Gupta’s films examine absurd phenomena emerging from human selfishness, hate and exploitation.
Himali Singh Soin’s Radar Level examines the cycle of extinction, reflecting on how, in geological time, endings at any moment look the same.
Finally, Sahej Rahal’s Shrota, an AI simulation program, blends virtual and real-life experience with the world of Hindu mythology and science fiction.
Normalising Disaster is curated by Moritz Cheung for Platform Asia. Supported by Arts Council England.
To learn more about the artists, click here.
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Other programmes in Sudden Beams 2021:
Homing In presents a series of digital commissions on our website. Considering international, present and historical experiences of isolation, and the ways in which people are connected to their homes and one-another when set at a distance. Follow Homing In Instagram to learn more about the project.
Public Roots and Beaten Tracks presents a series of digital journals, podcasts and screenings, uncovering hidden voices, forgotten ecologies and landscapes in South Asian history and the present.