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A glossary is unlike a dictionary, which defines terms. The terms in the glossary are specific to a context and carry a thickness of histories, experiences and myths with them.

루팔리 굽테 — 2021.5.13 05:19 AM

The Difficulties of Making Sense

Saleem Sinai, the protagonist of Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children, uses the metaphor of watching a cinema to explain the difficulty of making sense of the present: “Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems - but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems more and more incredible. Suppose yourself in a large cinema, sitting at first in the back row, and gradually moving up, row by row, until your nose is almost pressed against the screen. Gradually the stars' faces dissolve into dancing grain; tiny details assume grotesque proportions; the illusion dissolves-or rather, it becomes clear that the illusion itself is reality… (When) we're too close to the cinema-screen, the picture … (breaks)... up into dots, only subjective judgments are possible”.

Figuring out the world and making sense of it during these times - the times of the covid-19 pandemic - seems exactly like Salman Rushdie’s description of watching the cinema with our nose touching the screen. There appears to be no critical distance to see things and make sense when one is living through the situation. This is the first difficulty of making sense of the present, where the present appears to us in pixels without a sense of the whole story. The second difficulty is related to tools and methods. Trying to put together the story of humanity’s engagement with the pandemic is different from putting together an account of chemical, biological or physical reactions. The telescopes, microscopes and various measuring instruments of natural and physical sciences are unable to handle the realm of experiences, anxieties and desires that get played out in a pandemic. The third difficulty is that the present remains dynamic. The actions that happen on one day may not be repeated on the next. Humans and contexts constantly shape and reshape each other. Any one instance in this process of shaping cannot act as a representative of the whole process. Moreover, it is impossible to look at the whole process as it has not even happened as yet.

루팔리 굽테 — 2021.5.13 05:20 AM

The Glossary

In the work Gurgaon Glossaries the authors undertook a study of Gurgaon, a city that grew rapidly with diverse forces coming together. The city attracted people and businesses from all over the country with different kinds of lives and backgrounds to inhabit a complete alien landscape. The city settled not by resolving the differences between forces, but by figuring out ways in which these forces could exist with each other. It generated new practices and relationships that became terms by which the city happened. Gurgaon Glossaries compiled the terms by which the city came together. These were micro-narratives of emerging practices and relationships. The trope of the ‘glossary’ is useful to think about the contemporary where the nose is pressed against the screen. Every pixel becomes a term in the glossary - and more the number of terms in the glossary, more is the possibility of making sense. The glossary is unlike a dictionary, which defines terms. The terms in the glossary are specific to a context and carry a thickness of histories, experiences and myths with them. For example a term like ‘project’ would simply mean an undertaking or an idea or an ambition. In Gurgaon Glossaries, one of the terms called ‘the Project’ reads as follows:

“The Project: Contradictions arise when the condition of absent centralized infrastructure and governance collides with aspirations, desires and fears of the young professionals who come to work for the big companies located in Gurgaon. These contradictions are resolved through the idea of the ‘project’ taking care. Developers promise a ‘project’ instead of a house. Effort is made to provide all facilities that are available in any first world condition within these gated projects. Clubs, gardens, parking, security systems, 24X7 water and electricity are provided by the project along with one-button services – an exclusive service, where one has to simply push a button on the intercom system and demand. One has access to plumbers, cable TV guys, electricians, pest control services, etc. Some projects also provide services like day-care, drivers on hire, laundry, food from different restaurants”.

Here, the term ‘project’ embodies the specificities of governance, values, practices, systems and living in Gurgaon. The people of Gurgaon associate the term with a specific idea and space and not to the general idea of the term. The titles in the glossary may sound extremely generic. It is in their descriptions however that the terms acquire a contextual specificity, which speaks about the place / time / situation. Moreover, the form of the glossary is able to work with the pixelated nature of the story, where one is inside the story and also a part of it. Such a form is like a hydra - with multiple heads, where each head can speak in a different voice and different language and can respond differently to different situations. All the heads put together would be able to collectively tell a story of the context.

루팔리 굽테 — 2021.5.13 05:20 AM
루팔리 굽테 — 2021.6.25 04:45 PM
루팔리 굽테 — 2021.6.25 04:54 PM
루팔리 굽테 — 2021.6.25 04:55 PM

We consider the works of Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Jorge Borges, Umberto Eco and Michael Taussig as intellectual companions to the current work. The specific works here are as follows:

Barthes, Roland. (1991): Mythologies; trans. Annette Lavers, Noonday Press, New York (First translation published in 1957 by Editions du Seuil, Paris and later in 1972 byJonathan Cape Ltd.)

Benjamin, Walter. (2016): The Storyteller, Tales Out of Loneliness; trans, and ed. Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski, Verso, London & New York

Borges, Jorge Luis, and Margarita Guerrero (1969): The Book Of Imaginary Beings. Dutton, New York.

Eco, Umberto (2012): The Infinity Of Lists: From Homer To Joyce. MacLehose, London.

루팔리 굽테 — 2021.5.13 05:27 AM
루팔리 굽테 — 2021.6.25 04:51 PM
도시 용어 소사전

도시 용어 소사전

온라인, 워크숍

장소와 자아에 관한 동적인 어휘집을 구축하다

개요

도시를 바라보는 우리의 생각은 주로 묵시록과 축제 사이를 오간다. 이 프로그램은 그 두 가지 은유 사이에 도시를살아가고 경험하는 훨씬 더 해방적인 과정들이 존재한다는 것을 보여준다.

구르가온과 뭄바이라는 두 도시에 대한 ‘도시 용어 사전’ 전시에서 출발해, 참가자들은 자신의 도시를 사유하는 개인적 과정에 깊이를 더하는 방식으로 자신만의 용어 사전을 만들어가게 된다. 프로그램을 통해 오랫동안 발전시켜온 동적인 연구 과정은 장소와 자아를 다루는 방대한 현장 연구와 결합한다. 이렇게 새롭게 제작된 용어사전들은 독학자를 위한 인터랙티브 교육 도구로 기능하여, 도시 형성의 무수한 차원들을 개방하는 과정이 된다.

전시 프로그램 참여자

지금/여기

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Pandemic and Mechanical Surveillance_Alex Taek-Gwang Lee

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