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Self-exploration in Constantly Changing Environment – Interview with Nandita Kumar

Mauritius-born New Zealandian-Indian artist Nandita Kumar is all over the place – in a good way. She is on a quest to find connections between art, science and technology through her own art as well as community projects to shift consciousness of people – in her own words. I met Nandita at the exhibition opening of ARS17 in Kiasma, Helsinki. A glass bulb with a small technological world inside it – that’s what I saw. It reminded me of one of these self-sustained ecosystems in a bottle. Nandita’s ecosystem is an artificial one. It consists of very carefully manufactured detailed metal made plants. This is what she says about it:

pOLymORpHic hUMansCApE is an interactive biosphere in a bottle which explores two days in an urban landscape. This installation wishes to evoke discussions on the problems faced by Indian Cities due to urbanization, high population growth and development of slums. Read more at nanditakumar.com…

In this interview we discuss Nandita’s story and how her artistic identity formed in an ever-changing environment: she was born in Mauritius, grown up in India and moved to New Zealand at the age of 19 where she still works part time – and part time in Mumbai. See below the full line-up indexed with time stamps and stream the interview here:

Download mp3 from here


Line up (add 3 min of the intro to the times):

00:00 A little about you. Master’s degree in CalArt in experimental animation.
Non-narrative… Making animation is like playing god. No rules.

2:30 In order to keep myself stimulated I need to jump between projects.
Each art work grows out of a different art work.

3:15 Animated electronics

3:55 Drawing and art as self-exploration. What is the line between line for oneself vs.
art which you want to show to others?

5:10 Movig from India to New Zealand, influence of the change in the environment on you.
– Brain fly.
– Is explorative art like meditation?
– Non-verbal communication.
– Recording stream of consciousness.

7:00 Born in Africa in Mauritius. Father worked with submarines. Moved to India at the age of four, then to India at the age of 19. Beef organic upper Austria. Angewande kunst.

11:50 Can we compare the brain fly to Kafka’s cocroach? Embodiment. Spirituality and science in art.
Recording the shift of consciousness

19:00 Pieces that are now exhibited in Kiasma: connection between art, nature and technology.

29:30 What if you do not have motivation or curiosity? What do you do then?
– Part of the identity is bound to the creation?
– Keep the practice! Keep reading. Community art projects.
– Collaboration brings me back to my own work from a new angle.

31:30 What do you prefer: to work alone or with others?

32:30 Who inspires you the most?
– Frank Hubert: Dune
– Ryoji Ikeda
– Learn by putting yourself in different spaces

40:00 Morning routines?
– Going to my own spaces,
– Watching birds.
– Staring into the nature. Yoga, meditation.

42:00 Working routines.
– To think I need to be alone
– Research in New Zealand, creative work in India.
– Living project by project.

44:40 Do you ever isolate yourself to do work alone?

46:30 Best parts of being an artist?
– Navigate your own time,
– Interesting people,
– Not stuck in an office,

48:00 What would tell your 20-year-old self?
– Live a more balanced life.
– Keep playing, being curious, observe, listen.

50:00 What is success? Cultural differences between Finland and India.




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