Sankalp, the Smithsonian and the magic jigsaw puzzle

The installation that we are creating at the museum is called “Sankalp”. There are many interpretations of the word, and my interpretation, the one that I am using on the brochure is :
“Sankalp is the seed of Intention. Subtle but firm, it is a resolve deep in consciousness.
Artistic expression lies beyond thought. Beyond the Ego. It lies in calling upon creative forces of the universe through deep seated intention. And then letting go of intention. For expression is not permanent. It cannot be enclosed in time/space. Like a Crystal it is ever changing with continuing possibilities and potential. Each moment brings different possibilities and potential.
There are no beginnings and no ends. Expression is fluid and eternal.”
The installation is possible only because of the co authorship of my brilliant architect friend David Adjaye, who has just won the contract for one of the most prestigious architectural design of today : the new Smithsonian Museum for the African American Arts………

……..The installation intends to immerse the visitor in a multitude of reflections of the same film form different points of view (now called Passge) on various surfaces and from different points of the film. None of the reflections will impose upon the viewer the idea of linear time and plot, but because our mind is addicted to linearity and to beginnings and ends, each viewer will probably make up the linear ‘plot’ of the film. And then will walk into an area which shows the film and as it was constructed by the director. Hopefully that will be rejected by the viewer who has by then formed their own idea of the linearity. Thereby destroying my work as I intended it, but adding to it immensely by creating many more points of view than is possible.
Am trying to push film in to the idea of pure art, into the realm of music. Like a magic jigsaw puzzle where the same pieces could be put together in infinite different ways to create an infinite number of pictures.

14 thoughts on “Sankalp, the Smithsonian and the magic jigsaw puzzle

  1. …And that seed
    should be like the mustard seed..
    smaller than all seeds,
    but when it falls on the tilled earth
    it produces a large tree
    and becomes shelter to all the birds of Heaven.

  2. Getting the viewer to get into the story and build it up- fascinating. Then its subtly a two way process, with the viewer’s involvement, not just passive watching. He is forced to think.

  3. It’s hard to fathom that a celebrated brand that has managed to radiate its brilliance to almost every corner of the globe operates out of a factory with such an unassuming facade, and out there in what one might consider the boonies.
    My memories of it are from a visit to the museum about 5 years ago. While everybody was gravitating towards the museum and the splendor of its brilliant displays inside, I was grounded outside the entrance, staring at the grass mound (a mythical guard, as I saw it). After all one goes to a museum to see what’s inside, not what’s outside! But, there was something hypnotic about that mythical larger-than-life structure that I kept looking at its hypnotic eyes in awe. Like a child looking into the skies at the twinkling little stars. It seemed quite like the ‘dwarapalaka’ in hindu mythology. I later realized that my mind’s eye was viewing the whole mounded space as a ‘spatika lingam’, considered a very auspicious form of the lingam, symbolic of purity and transparency (spatika in sanskrit = crystal).
    That apart, there seems to be a very restrained and sublime philosophy underlying the way they do business, and underlying their flamboyant displays – with a resplendent convergence of sublime art, fine engineering precision, architectural (read: design) grace that very boldly defies boundaries and traditions, but with elegance and reverence…lending itself to a more harmonious universal appeal, and anchoring the brand itself as a sublime experience. In the context of the brand that Sankalp is being created, how lovely if it’s interpretation could be reflected as ‘the seed of PURE intention…’
    Would love to go back there at some point and soak in the radiance of all its sparkling creations and expressions. Is the opening of the installation open to all?

  4. shekhar, it all sounds very deeply reflective and original.
    however, don’t you think intention comes from thoughts…maybe ‘desire’ would be more apt for what you are trying to convey–
    …deep seated desire. then letting go of desire….
    just wondering…it all sounds great but feel there can be a better word than intention. something more ‘spiritual’.hope you don’t mind me saying this.
    love, shivani

  5. Endless possibilities !!! wonderful exactly the way we interpret our life circumstances in a myriad of ways.
    You are such an out of box thinker, amazing to put it into art in this way.
    Interestingly I have created a yoga practice with Intention or sankalpa. I see sankalpa as a resolve a kind of will. You can will the universe as you desire and also the state of your mind. So the yoga with intention works on body, mind and soul with sankalpa.

  6. Sankalp… Naam to bahut ach`cha hai. It is inspiring.
    How about one “Sankalp School”… a gift to India by Shekhar Kapur. You can do some “shram-daan”, do a TV show for 3 months., and from the money collected therefrom., you can build one High School, in a backward district of your choice. Pls. think about it.

  7. *off topic*
    Last evening Prithvi hosted Mahashweta Devi in conversation. To say it was brilliant/ terrific/ awe inspiring would not be doing justice. A superbly shot documentary was shown first – the interviewer so completely comfortable with his subject, her life and the span of her work. There is something about two people talking on the same wavelength.You MUST see this- get the DVD.
    Then a Q&A session. What repartee. And sharp. She had the audience in laughter. The question I asked got heckled at 🙂
    Amazing conviction. What integrity. At great personal cost. Clarity about a much debated issue- development. So clean of heart.
    This was big, boss.

  8. Lets create a world record for india. And now show the world how sharp we really are.just start solving blocks of the largest online puzzle ever created -100 blocks and 25000 pieces. But before you begin, do pour yourself a cup of Lipton Yellow Lable tea. The Natural Theanine in it will keep you sharp and ensure a good start go to

  9. @wisdom of ganga,
    just a piece of info Mustard does not become a tree, its a small herbaceous plant!

  10. I’d just like to quote Van Gogh
    “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream”
    Intent and expression merge!!!
    Lovely thought and analogy of the sankalp, the Smithsonian and the magic jigsaw puzzle – very sublime!
    all of them – points of departure!!!

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