Global Crossings Awards Gallery
Introduction Abdel and Amal Kenawy
Andres Burbano
Hellen Sky Kibook
  Kim Machan Nalini Malani Regina Celia Pinto Shilpa Gupta
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Shilpa Gupta - Global Crossings Award Runner Up  

Shilpa Gupta
2nd Floor, Premesh
6 B Turner Road
Bandra West
Mumbai 400 050
Tel: +91 22 26427721

Interactive, public, accessible, mass reproduced, democratic, politics in everyday life, installation, video, Internet, Bombay/Mumbai

  Interactive Projection 2004
Untitled | Interactive Projection | 2004
Copyright © Shilpa Gupta

Artist Statement
Untitled, 2004
Interactive Projection,
Projector and Computer
8 meters wide

In this wall projection, are seven figures, all dressed up in the camouflage – which has become increasingly fashionable after the War on Terror Campaign. First in the West, and more recently, spilling East onto the streets outside my home. Now I can walk into shops two blocks from where I live and buy camouflage gear. Camouflage makes you feel Cool and masquerade Terror. Terror is quite Cool.

Click on the figures and they move, they copy, they imitate. Click one, click two, choose a leader, become a leader and the rest follow. If they stop, click them up and they join.
Exercise 1 – 2 – 3 – 4. One Bend, Two Bend, Three Bend, Stay.
Look Straight – Don’t See – STAY

I have a bag, I have a phone, my neighbour has a phone, my phone, I don’t have a phone, I don’t have a shopping bag, but I need to JOG for it. Jog Jog Jog Stay on the Spot. Jog Jog Stay Stay

March Free Speech Free Press Free Market March Market Market March Free Speech No Speech No Press Market Market Market march March

Shut and Be. Shut and Eat. Don’t Interrupt. PRAY.
Fun Merry Meery Merry Fun Fun. DO or OUT. Aim 1234 Right Kill 1234 Left Aim 1234 Shoot Shoot Aim Shoot 1234 1234 1234 4,4

Dumb-ed in a capitalist society, we enjoy being programmed. We find instant satiation and loss of memory in turning ourselves into puppets. We allow media, electronic extensions of ourselves now in hands of a corporate often with state support nexus to think for us and amputate individual reasoning (McLuhan). Mental and physical activity slips from the mechanical to the mindless deteriorating into fear, chaos and violence against an enemy does not exist in a world where global consent is hijacked to fight a war in search of weapons which were never there. Everybody Bend; Dont Talk, Dont See, Dont Hear. Gandhi said so.

The project recalls a psychology where a combination of healthy physical exercises can help in slow and intense indoctrination of the mind by intense State military drills, local Hindu right wing RSS cadre exercises or new age courses to make you fighting fit.

The interactive loop keeps slipping into mindless violence. Violence – which his no longer just a fashion but is being internalized, morphing the emptied vulnerable self to become a source to project it towards the State, which is no longer the sole entity that has monopoly over the legitimate use of violence.


Ms Gupta has shown a remarkable flexibility in her approach to creating work of art moving away from conventional notion of what constitutes art and art practice. Her work is often about interactivity and it exists mostly in that moment, an aspect which distinguishes her from conventional visual artists. She has managed to bring life practices, experiences, belief, memory and imagination of people, particularly from India, into the realm of new types of art practices. In doing so she has reached out to a wider section of society and has changed the idea of how we experience or even imagine art. She has also managed to move away from a Euro-centric art history based art practice. Her work stands outside the definitions created by such institutions and offer a fresh approach to creating art in Indian context.

Among her well-known works are, and Diamonds and Describing, a piece commissioned by Tate Online, Jemima Rellie says, “Shilpa Gupta's new work Blessed Bandwidth invites visitors to log on, choose a religion and get blessed. Set against a world divided by faith, the work explores religion, globalisation and the complex cultural and political dynamics of the internet … it juxtaposes the real and virtual worlds and encourages visitors to consider how these spaces overlap and merge.” In writing about her work, Johan Pijnappel has this to say: “She creates fake worlds that simulate the culture of her environment, while simultaneously standing this culture on its head. In a conversation we once had, she suggested to me her reasons for bringing net art into her practice: 'It is about default properties, default politics. is non-consumable. It is familiar, interactive, friendly and time based. It can't match your curtains, and comes built in with a challenge to the lopsided hierarchical relationship between the artist and the patron.'”

While Shilpa Gupta’s works are visibly technological, the use of technology is not to throw light on technology but on ordinary experiences. In so doing, technology becomes an essential part of her work, again not because she is using the net as a medium but because she is saying something essential about the net - that the net impregnates our experiences so seamlessly that we are always in the danger of forgetting that it is technology that is mediating between us and the world. It seems to be the case that the most important insights into technology which her work develops are the ways by which technology becomes ‘natural’, something which we take for granted in the same way as the natural world around us.

Shilpa Gupta (b.1976) lives and works in Mumbai where she has participated in shows at Saakshi Gallery, Gallery Chemould, National Gallery of Modern Art and at Lakeeren Art Gallery.

Recent works include *Your Kidney Supermarket*, interactive installation and video on illegal human organ trade which was shown in a bookshop window in Mumbai and later at the Transmediale, Berlin where it received the Interaction award 2004.

She also works in Internet art, for example ** which was commissioned by the Tate, London (2003) and *Sentiment-* which was shown at Century Cities (2001) curated by Geeta Kapur at the Tate Modern.

In 2006, she will show at Biennial of Sydney, Solo Show - The Blackbox @ ARCO, Madrid, 9th Havana Biennial and Liverpool Biennale. She has participated in Media City Seoul Biennale and Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial and over the past ten years she has participated in shows in Berlin, Brisbane, New York, Beijing, Hoorn, Amsterdam, Auckland, Singapore, Jakarta, Manchester, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Melbourne, Toronto, Glasgow, Seoul, Tallinn and Ljubljana.

She has initiated the Aar Paar - a public art exchange project between India and Pakistan and the Video Art Road Show, screenings of video art on streets in Mumbai and Delhi. In 2005 he co-facilitated a visual art exhibition on borders for the World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

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