“Don’t touch me”: An experiment by Sonia Khurana

In the container, can we be together and alone, and shift our consciousness?

Don’t touch me.. is a live, participatory event devised and directed by Sonia Khurana. The event is one of the many from a series of situational experiments devised by Sonia Khurana, which are about transforming a singular act into a collective utterance.

Sonia Khurana is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in Delhi whose work traverse text, performance, installation, sound and photography/video. She uses the performative mode and lens-based media – video and sound – to make works that are poetic and subversive at once. Her situational works often engage with questions around site specificity, and the self and public.

At the India Art Fair, the artist invites visitors into an immersive environment, the central locus of which is a container. Strategically placed within a popular art platform, with all its hustle and bustle, the sacrosanctum of this container is a place of repose. The container has entry and exit points, thereby being made into a passage. The passage becomes a sound chamber through the act of listening. Sound here is used as a device that draws visitors closer and inside. As the visitor passes through the container, they’re invited to have a moment to stay, through the lure of a poem, read to each one, intimately, as voices fill up the space of the container to create a sensorial experience of ‘withness’ and hospitality. The loosely choreographed movement of reciters plays with ideas of vertical and horizontal axis.

“Through performative acts, I can engage with the constant struggle between body and language, to achieve a corporeal eloquence.”

Through an admix of playfulness and poetry, everyday movement becomes a group activity as participants and observers explore the act of lying down, and of listening. A new iteration of her lying down poem is presented here as a soundscape that echoes in the chamber. In the India Art Fair. Guided by the voice, visitors become participants and encounter the ephemeral materiality of this new site-specific work.

Disclaimer: This article is derived from a press release and doesn’t have journalistic/editorial involvement of The Democratic Mirror.

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