Padmini Chettur, study for A Slightly Curving Place, 2020 | Image: Sara
Dodecahedron speaker installed at Anupu, Nagarjunakonda. Video: Umashankar Manthravadi
Isipabbarabhumi is a Prakrit phrase from Jain cosmology referring to a special place above the heavens shaped like a parasol. It is where the disembodied souls of the perfected ones go to live in eternal isolation. There, sealed off from the rest of the cosmos, they are unable to interact with other souls, unable to hear them or be heard.
In this exhibition, a slightly curving place is to be found not at the apex of the universe but under an ambisonic dome of speakers. Here, an audience of listeners might gather to sense a past they cannot hear. The sound that arrives is a record of sound as it was. Elsewhere, on projection screens, the body of a dancer rotates in one direction, as it makes an image of time that turns in another.
Centered around a multi-authored audio play and a video installation, the exhibition responds to propositions opened up by Umashankar Manthravadi in his practice as a self-taught acoustic archaeologist. It brings together writers, choreographers, composers, actors, dancers, musicians, field recordists and sound, light, and graphic designers who engage and transform each other’s work.
The ambisonic dome, which comprises 21 speakers and produces a three-dimensional sound field, has been provided by the Audio Communication Group, Technische Universität Berlin.