Playfield of Sand
Ragini Nath, India
This work tries to explore the politics of the self. The same self that had a different orientation and relationship with the world of pre-corona times. A relationship that was based on the fast pacing, mechanical, global, clock in and clock out notions of time, where the line between a consumer and the citizen, the private and the public, the real and the virtual, had all been blurred. The pandemic and the social isolation that it resulted in has brought the churning of this self to a grinding halt.
Having been confined to ‘home’, space has taken a different meaning, as has time. Masks and social distancing have jolted back a nostalgia for touch, for human interactions, forcing one to reconsider the difference between the physical and the virtual, the material and the existential, the collective and the individual. The very act of breathing is trying to find a new normal.
The present doesn’t seem to be moving towards a definitive future, yet one has to believe that it is, it must… The self has stopped racing and trying to keep up with the modern world, in turn letting the past (however fragmented) to catch up in the form of memories. Recollection, the very act of remembering of things past is slowly finding room in this new space-time of the pandemic.
This work is a manifestation of that need for recollection, and reconsideration of memories, of meaningful relationships, the value of words, of touch and the very act of breathing. It springs from a personal angst for the liberation of the emotional and the nostalgia of unrequited love, a seemingly naive search for the kind of love that would ennoble the self.
For the artists of this work, it’s an attempt to come to terms with the memory of past things, the perception of the present and the expectations of the future.
Ragini Nath is a documentary filmmaker and photographer from Northeast India. Her work has been the intersection of journalism, film and social change. Ragini is fascinated by city ruins, contrasts in cityscapes and oral histories. She is curious and love to document a world that is lost in transitory moments. Ragini is hugely inspired by the cinema of Agnes Varda, Chris Marker and Andrei Tarkovsky. Her first independent documentary ‘Bar and Girl’ (2018) explored the dwindling number of spaces dedicated to lesbian nightlife in New York City serving as a memoir of preservation through memory and storytelling, tracing some iconic queer spaces. ‘Bar and Girl’ (2018) has been included in several film festivals including Official Selection at the 33rd Connecticut LGBTQ Film festival. Her photgraphy work has been exhibited at the Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival and Ragini is also a contributing photographer for Women Street Photographers forum.