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Dhaka Tribune

The parallel world of myth and science

Update : 22 Feb 2016, 12:52 PM

The name “The Missing One” comes from Nirrudesher Kahani or The Story of The Missing One written by Jagadish Chandra Bose in 1896, it is regarded as one of the first tales of science or speculative fiction in Bengali. It was a tale of miracles; a cyclone quelled with physics, by pouring oil on water.

Bose was a pioneering inventor of instruments for wireless technology and the study of nature, and a crater on the moon was named after the research scientist himself. He was close to the Tagore family who was central to the intellectual world of what is called the Bengal Renaissance, generative for art, music and literature, narrates Nada Raza, curator of the session.

Gaganendranath Tagore painted a portrait of Bose that now hangs at the Bose Institute in Calcutta. “The Missing One” at the Dhaka Art Summit can, therefore, be called an amalgamation of arts and science.

The exhibition carries Shishir Bhattacharjee’s “Come and See the Game 1995,” a large canvas on which hybrid monsters appear in a nightmarish scene. Ronni Ahmmed, an eminent local artist, combines classic sci-fi memes with myth and folklore. One might travel through space and time while viewing his paintings and sculpture that hold components like the UFO (unidentified flying object), time machine and lord Hanuman. Through all of it, he creates what he calls a “parallel earth.”

A giant eye that became the centre of attraction on the first floor was actually a 360 degree view projected on a large convex surface. “Eye (1),” as its creator Zihan Karim names it, became popular as “the giant eye” among the spectators. The film installation begins with bucolic scenes of nature that gradually begin to grey into a charred landscape. It may hint towards an omnipotent, all-seeing witness to environmental destruction, or simply point to the inevitability of decay and the cycle of life.

Tejal Shah’s “Landfill Dance (Channel II) 2012” also triggered curiosity among the visitors. In this video, costumed dancers perform choreographed movements through a landfill, indicating a wider investigation into identity, sexuality, agency, the body and its relationship to the world. A number of visitors said they enjoyed the video as it could reflect messages alongside absurdity.   

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