The consonance and dissonance of reality becomes visible only when time pauses, and it is only in these pauses that reality happens.
Udit Mahajan's work appears in SciArt Center's most recent exhibition, "The Void and the Cloud." The exhibit's curator, Marnie Benney, spoke with Mahajan on his artwork and process:
MB: In a way, we started from nothing and will potentially return to nothing, or a void. How does your work explore the concept of the void in regards to human existence?
UM: I believe human existence is way more complex and comprehensive than the individual experiences that make it. Nothing starts with us and returns to us, serving as inspiration towards something, that makes up the human existence. In my work, I create perceptual experiences in attempt to reach the physiological resonance in humans. A lot of design thinking and iteration is involved. The aim is to engage and activate the audience.
MB: Do you think humans can exist in the dual state of being and non-being? How does your artwork for this show support or challenge this duality?
UM: Humans exist in the dual state of being and non-being. I believe there is a constant back and forth, with overlaps, dictated by sensation, perception and awareness.
Ad Infinitum goes through several subtle and dramatic forms, patterns and behaviors that seem to appear and dissolve constantly. The fractal nature of the piece is intentional, as it is meant to intrigue the oscillation that happens between the two states of being and non-being/immersion. Inspiration is drawn from the fractal nature of our senses themselves, through which we observe and make up our reality. A meditation on what one’s eyes focusses on and why.
MB: What aspects of tangible physical form and virtual form do you use in your research or creative practice to explore the thread that connects them?
UM: In general, my practice involves physical and digital prototyping methods, according to project requirements. Typically, the process incorporates several levels of prototyping to decide on the layers that the project needs to unfold. Paper, cardboard, software tools and engines, hardware interfaces and samples, physical and digital networking, devices, projection etc. are some of the several ways that I use.
Specifically, Ad Infinitum went through user testing with some valuable feedback in terms of colors, complexity, speed, responsiveness, form and representation, audio component etc. Cognitive biases, cross-cultural understanding and perceptual awareness, all aid in deciding on the forms for research and creative practice.
MB: What happens to the physical world, the physical self, in a digital-dominated era?
UM: I believe the physical self evolves as meaningful digital interventions grow in the world around. Consciousness, as we know it, expands on all levels, as our interpretation of the physical world is very much owed to our senses that perceive it and the fractal patterns that cause it.
I see it as an improvised yet coordinated dance between the physical and digital, the balance between them constantly shifting focus. It fascinates me to ponder on the capabilities of a physical self in a digitally dominated era, of not just what we consume, or who we want to be, but who we are. It makes me wonder about the world when we have eyes that do more than see.