Length 20:49 seconds
This film is my fourth attempt to create an ‘accurate’ narrative. It combines some elements from the films seen above.
In April 2009, NEW – Non Traditional Employment for Women; a well known organisation that teaches and provides a support system to women trades workers inNew York City graciously invited me to show these films at their Alumni Event.
That day, I made a small installation of images in the NEW workshop in Brooklyn, they had organised food and everyone watched the ‘video conversations’.
Once the women watched the ‘video conversations’. A powerful discourse ensued.
Here the power of photography was revealed to the many participants, organisers and the artist for the first time.
There is no record of this final discourse because I am interested in shifting the paradigm of the dissemination of the image
The Archaic Paragdim: The photographer — to —-> print publication —-to—-> archive —to—-> locked in space and time module.
Cross Cultural Paradigm: The photographer —-to—-> darkroom —to—> subject/community dispersing into small bits and finally recording only in the consciousness module.
What IS the Conversation?
The Act of Encoding
In the video, I have used many allegorical symbols, such as the manner or dress, safety equipment, and even the word construction in the title of my project to play with syntax within the visual and textual field. At the same time, I am attempting to draw a parallel between how preordained expectations prevent us from truly contesting deeply, the encoded meanings of the image of the female in mass media across cultures. The construction workers have been shot in a beautiful elevated aesthetic manner, just like I would shoot an important celebrity for an editorial magazine. I am trying to purposely challenge the way, those without power are normally photographed.
Issues of Representation
This is a cross-cultural dialog between the photographer/artist and the subject as well. Matters of authorship are complicated when these ‘conversations’ are simulated on the screen by an artitst. I consider myself a mere facilitator this cross cultural dialog, therefore this body of work has made me contemplate my role constantly. As a result the many renditions of the ‘video conversation’ is my relentless urge to resolve the idiosyncrasy of ‘accurate’ and ‘just’ narrative of multicultural identity. Therefore I am using the image as a mirror to contemplate our own complex reality, and the practice of art to facilitate the discourse of the other in relation to the self. Dialog being an important aspect of this project.
In conclusion, I hope that from this video, many questions are inspired, and many ambiguities are deepened about the human race.
Women in Construction is a project that helps women working in construction in India and USA to have a dialog.
Why do you wear a sarree?
How much do you get paid?
Who looks after your children when you are on the jobsite?
Do you get harassed by men?
What is safety according to you?
What kind of a helmet is that?
These questions not only contemplate their literal meanings, but also bring up a multicultural dilema about the role of the female and the implications of her culture.
I am looking for women in the trades in United States, who are interested in being photographed and interviewed as a part of this project.