thotseat : rohini devasher
3 december 2017
Based in Delhi, Devasher has trained as a painter and printmaker, and works in a variety of media including sound, video, prints and large site-specific drawings. Her current body of work is a collection of ‘strange’ terrains, constructed by observing, recording, fictionalizing, and re-imagining objects and spaces that exist at the interface between science, nature and culture, perception and production.
Atmospheres (video still), courtesy of Rohini Devasher and Project 88
S: Tell TOMBOY a little about yourself and your practice.
RD: The work is essentially based within intersections of art and science but explores things on a philosophical spectrum as well. I’ve been an amateur astronomer as long as I’ve been an artist and that began the year I became an art student in Delhi in 1997.
I’m interested in speculations from very real spaces but then what happens when we turn them on their head and whether that makes it possible for us to look at the world in new ways and maybe offer new ways of navigating this very complicated and always very hopeful space.
Another theme that is very important to me is bringing a sense of wonderback. I feel like the word has lost currency - not just in art but in life. For me, it’s about reclaiming that sense of wonder- because wonderwalks this really cool line between the uncanny and awe. It’s not all gorgeousness, it’s also uncanny.
S: Is that what you mean by “strange” terrains in regards to your practice?
RD: Yes! I love the word strangeand strange-ingor the idea that you take things that can be quite banal or quite normal and strangethem. Strange-ingcan be many things. For me, in the work it often becomes sometimes just mirroring or layering things or just changing perspectives. I think that can sometimes become an interesting way of looking at something new.
Shivering Sands (video still) courtesy of Rohini Devasher and Project 88 (1)
S: I love how you use strange as a verb! You’re right in that there’s a type of floating, innate strangeness but also behaviours, methodologies and processes sort of create strange as well. I think it’s really interesting how that ties in with this idea of wonderment.