It Is A War (Excerpt from a work in progress)
Video and Sound: Utsa Hazarika
Singing: Utpala Mukherjee
Samples: Chura Liya (Yaadon ki Baarat)
Filmed in Delhi, India, assisted by Vwastav Ghosh.
This video interlaces footage from two separate events. Its narrative is constructed around metaphors and motifs picked out from the seemingly mundane and ritual activities of the two events; it explores the minute ways in which individuals construct their social lives through these activities.
The first section of the film focuses on an event orchestrated to bringing friends, relatives and loved ones together for celebration. However, the underlying narrative which is present is also one of isolation. This idea draws on Roy Wagner’s The Invention of Culture (1985), where he proposes that an individual’s actions, when intended to form a collective with others, also have an opposite reaction of reinforcing the individual in the very action of collectivization (and vice versa). Wagner’s analysis allows us to perceive the conflicting undercurrents present in social interaction, and the ways in which these feature in the construction of an individual’s identity.
The film was made without a script or actors, and its soundtrack comes from the sounds that were heard during filming – the sounds of fireworks, bells and conches during the ritual, etc. – with the exception of samples from the Bollywood song ‘Chura Liya’. It features in parts as an instantly recognisable tune; when the narrative flips, however, the samples have been slowed down, reversed and otherwise constructed to make the familiar strange, mirroring the two kinds of narratives that run through the work – one familiar and identifiable, the other more intangible and implicit.