Since each of us was several, there was quite a crowd. Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as fartherest away. (Deleuze & Guattari, in the introduction to A Thousand Plateaus, 3)

Monday, October 12, 2009

New York, New York

I am writing this in New York, it's just before 6am--the trials of jet lag, we awoke around 4am. Our first morning we took a cab to see an exhibition by Farida Bartool, 'Maa Tuje Salaam' (Hail To Mother) at the Aícon Gallery . The connection: she was doing a masters at CoFA the same time I was and we got talking on the first day--our topics were seemingly unrelated but there were already a number of other connections: I had lived in Pakistan (where Farida is from) as a child but even apart from that there was always lots to discuss. After finishing her masters, she returned to Lahore, married, gave birth to a son and continued working and we have kept in contact. She is now in London studying for a PhD (another topic we discussed regularly), and when she sent a notice of this, her first exhibition in NY I found the last day of the exhibition would be our first day here.
Why do I feel all this is a topic for this blog? I think it has to do with connections of disparate and similar people and places (D & G's rhizome), across time and shared experience. Her message is quite overtly political but carries the personal and private anxiety of a mother (her son's image appears in a number of the works overlaid with confronting images of the military and, in another work, of surveillance). She uses the photographic process of 'leticular' prints (I need to check I have the correct term) which has the effect of making the images shift from one to another and while I am not convinced with the aesthetic result I think I am beginning to understand ('see') that it is appropriate to her message.
Images: (1) from the exhibition (2) a mirror encountered in a restaurant where we stopped for lunch (--a hamburger, it is NYC!)

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