Imaging and imagining the Western Ghats as a splice and a field of splices
A splice is a special kind of joint. It does not call attention to itself so much as to the new ‘singularity’ that it creates. The taping of two celluloid strips in making a film, the tying of two ropes in extending a length, the joining of two pieces of wood in crafting an artifact, the juxtaposing of two images in creating a montage, the connecting of two pieces of music to make a performance, all qualify as a splice.
Part 1: Crafting a splice
Students began the project in the studio with two exercises: joining two material things and joining two immaterial things. The challenge was to make a joint that constructed something new. Students worked with various materials, meanings, colours, patterns and sounds. They also developed ways of representing their splices with notations that gave them a measure and possibility for use as a lens by which to traverse, experience and image the Ghats.
Part 2: Traversing a splice
In this phase of the project, students traveled to a section of the Western Ghats from the Agumbe rain forest through the town of Udupi to St. Mary’s Island off the coast. They traversed this ground through the lens they had constructed and documented their experiences by a variety of visual means, primarily the camera.
Part 3: Designing a splice
Back in the lab, the students assembled their documentation in the language of their splices and designed a way to revisualize the Ghats as a splice and a field of splices. Their final projects took the form of books, installations, exhibits and fabrics.