Otolith II

UK / India 2007
Video, 47mins, 42secs, Colour, Sound

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

Otolith II
HD video (colour, sound) 47min 42 sec UK/India 2007

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