Destruction Of Artifacts From 2400 B.C.E. (2014)


I like to see this work both as a video art piece and a performance piece presented in an installation. In the video, I am crushing some historical artifacts that my family acquired from the city of Lothal, near Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Lothal was a port city during the Harappan civilization that flourished around 2400 BCE. The artifacts, in and of themselves are merely small pottery shards, only parts of larger objects.

A historic value is levied upon these artifacts, which once existed as utilitarian items of daily use. For me the action of desecration of the artifacts is a symbolic act in defiance of History. Also, it addresses a larger philosophical discourse on the study of History and Past with its relation to the Present. It begins to question the historical, nationalistic and ethnic particularisms that we hold so dear to us.

In this work I question something I call ‘Cultural Nostalgia’: the sentimental longing for a superior mythological past that never existed. I have intentionally used a classical aesthetic; made an attempt to beautify the destruction of precious historical artifacts and in the process I created a new history through video documentation of the act. In this regard, I see the video as documentaristic. The function of a video camera is to document that performance of destruction. The photographs of the shards are merely historicizing and preserving the artifacts as a record of the objects that once existed.

Location: 1st edition exhibited at Southern Pine Company, Savannah, Georgia, USA
2nd edition exhibited at MillOwners Association Building, Ahmedabad, India
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