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The online edition of 'PAATOM' Magazine founded by MN Vijayan -

In the Context of diffusion of imperialist machinery into the Indian Communist movements PAATOM raises indignant resistance against the hell of ideology and praxis vitiated by the pseudo Marxist goons of imperium.

'PAATOM' is a resistance from the deepest of the racial sanctity of humanity nursed by the leftist political ethos. "PAATOM" is the voice of honest determination, that means to uncover the treacherous objects concealed beneath the mystery of hegemonic jargon.

We offer a laborious contribution to the truly humanist interventions that would enlarge the circumference and depth of emotional and intellectual perceptions.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Locating an Artistic Space

The Architecture of Illusions

Artists are perceived to be either decorators or destroyers of the hibernated atmosphere of the political economy of the ruling class. And their space is often on the peripheries of the various political ecosystems. And they get the centre stage of political ecosystems during the revolutionary moments of history. They invite the wrath of some one and at the same time sell themselves to the purses of others. This has been the scenario of artists for the past many decades. Art and artists have become the reflections of the convolutions in the contemporary human inhabitation. Inhabitation should be seen as the product of interactions between human society and nature. It is different from the human habitat comprising of natural settings. 

These two concepts are presented in detail in 'Paatom'  Annual Edition in remembrance of Prof: M.N.Vijayan. The labour process involved in these two ecosystems are different. In a habitat, labour is engaged with a pre-existing class consciousness and rule of law. But the labour tries to create its own space-time conjecture and then it becomes dialectically engaged with a skin of inhabitation. It is this space-time dynamics that delineates the habitat with the evolving consciousness of inhabitations. 

Artist seeks a space for his expression when a creation comes out from the habitat of personal experiences. In the realms of language, we see the interplay of habitat and inhabitation. New meanings try to overlap with the existing semantics here. Language develops as a product of a social communication of meanings. Yet it does not have the semiotic potential as found in ideology. An artist embraces a language medium to convey the consciousness (from habitat ) to the realm of ideology (inhabitation). The interaction between the consciousness and the language creates additional meanings here.

When Indian artist M.F. Hussain tries to side himself with the powerful symbols of Hindu deities by using his strokes on the naked goddess, it comes out of his necessity to carve a space in the inhabitation of a hegemonic structure evolving in India. His frail conscience tries to empower itself by resorting to the erotic energy of Indian myths. This might have been prompted by the urge to ally with the religious ethos that predates the modernity which is now getting rejuvenated by the hegemony of crony capitalism. In between habitat and inhabitation, there is a layer of processual nature. Here discourse materials are formed and evolved. 

When M.F. Hussain translates his subservience to the dominant mythologies of Indian Hinduism, it is his libido which acts as the processual layer. And the art work becomes the product in the cultural psyche. In this process he alienated himself from the ideological framework of Indian Islam. Instead of understanding the artist's psyche behind this allegory, Hindu fanatics tried to exorcise M.F. Hussain. And now he retreats into his native islamhood by opting a Quatar citizenship, escaping the Indian national identity itself. So artist's freedom of expression is not an autonomous territory. It is the reflection of his urge to create his own space in the commons. The issue evolves into an ideological one when the expression demands its space in the inhabitation.

This also reflects the necessity for an artist to have a willful space-time conjecture in the inhabitation. They expect this freedom as they try to extrapolate the limited will they have in their own habitat. But as soon as they move out of the margins of habitat, they feel the disturbances and the  dynamics of alienation. This places artists like M.F. Hussain in a volatile position, in between the habitat and the inhabitation. In times of cultural retreat like ours, artist is forced to work on the habitat using the pre-existing symbols and myths arising out of religion which are static in nature. Capitalism intentionally energises the religious habitat as it spreads an atmosphere of irrationality which can make the consumer a subservient slave in the clutches of market.

But this sort of alienation and confusion does not arise in the mind of cine artists like Kushboo or Suhasini Manirathnam who directly ally with the architecture of illusions. In the name of freedom of expression, they carve a direct space in the cultural hegemony of imperialism by evoking the destructive elements of sexual anarchy. This is in direct conjunction with the wilful subjugation to the interests of market capitalism. The international sex industry want to export sex as a commodity in India and elsewhere. 

And what happens here is the gradual decay of the family habitat in India and the resultant sexual anarchy. Thereafter sex will be a disposable commodity and the institutions like marriage which adds a structure to the family will be demolished. And India will get a prudent position in the map of sex tourism and it can flourish like Indonesia or Thailand.

These two are not extremes. But they represent two Psyche, the former ailed by the religious myths of pre-existing hegemonic habitat and the latter corrupted by the Imperial interests and the market capitalism. When one embraces exile out of reliance on pre-modern habitat, other flourishes and proliferate with the supports of market imbued inhabitation.

Gokul B.Alex
'Clarity is Rhythm'