The Otolith Group
Otolith II (2009)
In 2006 The Otolith were commissioned by the Dutch curatorial platform If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution, Kunsten Festival Des Arts and Argos in Brussels, and Casco Projects in Utrecht to develop the next episode in the Otolith Trilogy. The work was developed over one year with a series of events that explored our research and methodology. The Video was filmed in Dharavi in Mumbai, in the state of Maharashtra, in Chandigargh in the state of Punjab and in London.
Otolith II, again narrated by Dr. Sagar, descends from the astromarine environment of weightlessness into the hypercompression of Bombay’s Dharavari megaslum, conditions “so extreme, they could turn coal into diamond,” and the midcentury utopian planning of Chandigarh. The film does not, however, tell the predictable tale of modernity’s progressive breakdown; rather, current-day India prefigures both a coming planetary impoverishment as well as a model of creative survival within informal architectures and adaptive urban living, both futures which currently take cover under the penumbra of financial speculation. Echoes of Anand Patwardhan’s Bombay Our City (1985) link generations of unwavering labor, while the automotive ruminations of Black Audio Film Collective’s Twilight City (1989) map a nighttime of steel and sparks, bordered by a landscape of dreams, sequenced by electronic pulses; buildings dreaming of what they could be. Neither lament nor valorization, Otolith II instead opts to survey and resurrect the transtemporal fragments of Indian Modernism via future- invocative alliances between socialist feminism, Nehruvian secular projects and transnational solidarity; a delegation which draws together not the failures of the past but a zodiac of the possible.
–Text by Brian Rogers