Image and Icons

Prism and Perspectives on Legends

A Multi-media Performance by the
Abhyas Ensemble

9th August 2004

Image and Icons is i
nspired by the works of the seventeen Lalit Kala Ratna awardees felicitated today by the Honíble President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the occasion of Lalit Kala Akademiís Golden Jubilee. Two minute video clips dedicated to each of these artists intersperse projections of their art-works, signatory details that make their works unique as well as their statements on aesthetics and art-making. Accompanying these video projections are performance pieces: The choreography, colours, costumes, props and music reflecting the works of the artists.

The choreography varies in style, as each artistís vision warrants different interpretation and representation. Thus, there is no fixed style of movement. The performance occasionally includes theatrical enactments and at times an overlapping or simultaneous projection so as to create a sense of dialogue between two or more artists. This spectacle is an attempt to salute the great legends as well as to celebrate their creativity.

About the production:
This multi-media production in a layered space combines live performance with design and video to create a spectacle. Using three projection screens, two of which are scrims, seven dancers weave choreography and theatrical design, juxtaposed against layers of video imagery in response to the artistic vision and works of the artists, combining theatrics, music, lighting, costumes, design and video. The dancers, trained in traditional forms, extend their technique to push the norms of tradition and classicism to create moods and make images inspired by the works of the artists. The music is a collage of sounds and symphonies from around the world; the lighting heightens the play of colour, shadow and shade. Various props, a mobile installation and video imagery are used to create layers of texture and colour to gain an insight into the artistís works as well as their processes of art making.

Directorís Note:
The exercise has been both a tedious and an inspiring one: to first get involved in a fine detailed viewing of all the artistsí work, to viscerally intuit it and then to physically respond to it, has been doubly rewarding as it has been a collective exercise; all dancers becoming co-viewers and co-choreographers. Because of the number of artists involved and the variety of work the dancers have had to be "mercurial" in spirit, snaking their way out of one artistís inner world on to engage the spirit of yet another. Continuously changing design, installations and costumes keep creating fluid context within which the dancers place and replace themselves. The video imagery adds to the performerís experience, to view and even bear the impressions of the artwork upon the body, layers the work and also offers the dancers instantaneous stimuli that are pleasurable. Most exciting and fun has been the processes of imaging and dramatizing an inventory of video images and scenarios that might stem out of or complement the works of the artists. This has not only added another dimension to the work but has also offered a very rewarding license.