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Maghi, 2019 (parachute, gold threads, metal kite spools, industrial fan)

Text about 'Maghi, 2019':


Uttarayan, also known as the International Kite Festival, is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in India and takes place on Makar Sankranti every year. Makar Sankranti, or ‘Maghi’ as it is commonly called, is the day that the sun transitions into Makara (Capricorn). As the residency’s main focus is the festival, I was keen to capture the ephemeral nature of the kite flying, defying gravity, as well as the lively and traditional celebrations that accompanies the festival. 


Having been working with parachute material and looking at decorative Indian embroidery, I stitched 5 panels of the parachute in golden threads. The abstract patterns are actually a progression of air-stream markings adapted from the book, An Album of Fluid Motion by Milton Van Dyke who was practicing the technique of ‘flow visualisation’ i.e. making the air-waves surrounding an object visible to the human eye. The embroidery displays a traditional triangular kite motif, which acts as the ‘object’ travelling through space leaving behind its air markings.


The transparent nature of the material can be illuminated in a way that it is reminiscent of the glowing lanterns, used within the festival’s celebrations at night. Rhythmical sound has also been used, captured as part of the traditional opening ceremony for the professional flyers presentation, enhancing the performative element of the parachute. The firkis, or metal kite spools, that are used to reel in the kite strings have been used to ground the parachute. The movement of these also reflect traditional Indian dance, in the round.

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