Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Re-Imagination of Aparna Rao

. . . we don't really love technology. . . but we use it
because we're interested in the way that it can help us
to express the emotions and behavioral patterns in
these creatures that we create. And once a creature pops
into our minds, it's almost like the process of creation
is to discover the way this creature really wants to exist
and what form it wants to take and what way it wants to move.
~ Aparna Rao of Pors & Rao

Bangalore, India-based artist Aparna Rao (b. 1978), a 2011 TED Fellow, gave a talk in Edinburgh, Scotland, this past summer that will delight you. Rao, who collaborates with Danish artist Soren Pors (b. 1974), re-thinks and re-imagines the ordinary into something that is high-tech, playful, witty, and incredibly creative. Watch as she introduces a few of the duo's creations: the "Uncle Phone" (see image below) that is "so long that it requires two people to use it", an electronics-embedded typewriter that sends her uncle's commands as e-mails, a sound-sensitive installation titled "The Pygmies", and a video installation "The Missing Person" that is equipped with a camera that can follow you and also make you invisible.

Rao has worked since 2004 with Pors, whom she met while on a research scholarship at the Interaction Design Institute, Ivrea, Italy. Known as Pors & Rao, the couple's multidisciplinary art practice draws on knowledge of mechanical and electronic engineering, programming, and manufacturing. Their work has been shown in Spain, India, Israel, Italy, Norway, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Their solo exhibition "Applied Fiction" was earlier this year at the Vadehra Art Gallery in India.

Pors and Rao, The Uncle Phone, 2003
Plastic, Metal, and Electronics
4" x 6" x 78"
Private Collection
Photo: Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

The phone, which is functional, was featured earlier this year in the exhibition "Roots in the Air, Branches Below: Modern and Contemporary Art from India" at San Jose (New Mexico) Museum of Art. (A review of that show is here.)
DAT Feature on Pors and Rao (This feature includes an interview with the duo.)

Exhibition Installation Images from Vadehra Art Gallery (Included are images of several of the works mentioned in the TEDTalk.)

Georgina Maddox, "When the Toys Come Alive: Artist Duo, Pors and Rao, Weaves Interactive Fun Into Their Unusual Work", Indian Express, January 27, 2011

Amitava Sanyal, "Two to Tango", Hindustan Times, February 27, 2011

Vadehra Art Gallery Profile of Pors & Rao


Anonymous said...

Another great find Maureen. Very funny and smart.

Hannah Stephenson said...

That phone is incredible.

Happy almost-holidays, Maureen!

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