Suburbia |

Why PIX And Why Now?

Rahaab Allana

We know this: There are over a billion cellular phone cameras in use today, countless imaging/scanning hard and softwares, as well as gigantic photo-agencies like Reuters and National Geographic inviting anonymous or amateur photographers to post their images for perusal.

We also know that all ‘users’ have a distinct eye, taking in the world differently and sharing their digital results with unknown millions across the world: a web made up of discrete links. It’s comparable to a Hieronymus Bosch painting: conflicted, embroiled and immaculate, where all ‘beings’ beautifully entwine to make a creature of epic scale.

However, I submit to the following: Photography has changed our sense of time and managed to leave us in a disarray of our own making. That is, if the world is indeed reduced to an image, what is the world but an image?

One of the most tacit forms of exchange of ideas and visuals manifested through social change is media. The image (on screen) creates terms of immediate reference such as ‘interface’, ‘user-friendly’; acronyms such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) galore. Though these are common enough today, a colossal transformation has occurred, changing us (though not all of us), somewhat grudgingly from the analog to the ‘interactive’. How does one define this change? Is it merely media-oriented, or is it also about what we would rather look at, think about and portray in the 21st century?

To me, some clues are embedded in the way we have flattened the world into that very screen, questioned the legitimacy of an image, altered the meaning of ‘truth’, and found that we can gaze, almost too comfortably at any subject or content through a low-res, pixilated, deeply inert, yet utterly real form of recognition: PICTURES. In this vein, PIX is yet another manifestation of that over-nourished hi-tech, and very silent revolution. It’s about asking ourselves which images still matter and why and how photographs from India can be opened up to a larger ambit of people ‘making’ (mixed media) photographs, not only ‘taking’ (clicking) them.

Themes help, ideas proliferate, forces convene and outputs alter. We have used thematics because it is a guiding force, and a quick summary of what ‘drives’ us. And so, we humbly present Suburbia, with some pleasantly surprising results, forcing us to look again at the city, at people, at surfaces brewing with supplication – telling us that every image, like every generation, withholds a lingering memory and a tale waiting to unravel.