Swarovski Installation : Sankalpa by Shekhar Kapur and David Adjaye

This is a picture of the installation that David Adjaye and I created based on the short film I made called Passage in Argentina. The still frame does not give a complete idea of the immersive experience of sound and moving picture that you get once you are in there. The idea is to sense the nature of illusion and of the deconstruction of linear time once in the maze of moving images from different points of view of the same film.
The installation uses ten screens of different luminosity and reflectivity including two screens made of thousands of tiny crystals. Seven projectors are creating reflections at various angles creating half and full images at the same time – and as you get lost in this sound and light show, you see yourself reflected in the image, as well as other visitors.
What you can’t make out quickly is where the other visitors are, and whether you are watching them real through clear glass, or their reflections through the film.
The people at the Swarovski Crystal Palace (where there are works by Dali and Picasso too !) went through a tough time not knowing what the installation would look like, while I kept assuring them I knew exactly what I was doing. The fact was that I did not, but was on an adventure of exploration and discovery !
Both David and I was were taken aback at what we created when we saw it finally as the video projectors were turned on. It took all our breaths away, and we realized the beauty of the art of light and reflection. Because we were creating illusion through that medium, it took hold of itself organically and developed a life of it’s own.

Posted in Art

33 thoughts on “Swarovski Installation : Sankalpa by Shekhar Kapur and David Adjaye

  1. I have a question Shekhar,
    Is there any thing in creative field that you can’t do???? I am so jealous of and spell bound by your gift and admire your sooo much.
    I wish I get chance to meet you in person one day.

  2. Wow!
    It looks heavenly on the picture, so it must be mindblowing in 3D.
    Your description of the setting’s purpose reminds me a bit of an Indo-French project called Palimpsestes in which you can see yourself reflected in a giant screen that registers each of your movements in sequence, together with the image and movements of someone else on the other side of the world who is also being filmed at the same time… as well as images of symbols of each city holding an installation of this type.
    If only the Palimpseste screens were Swaroski ones…

  3. Sounds very very interesting. You are an innovative creator Shekharji. I wish I get a chance to view this.

  4. We – The audience looking forward for more such creativity from you & The Team.
    Art is a gift gifted by God to few chosen people And if possible, lucky ones should live life for entertainment, for the audience.
    We love artist because you remind us – God exist.
    The more you discover & share And empty yourself, We/I promise The more we will fill you with love & hugs & claps ! claps ! claps !
    Keep discovering.
    shakehands – love you…

  5. Read this some where very thought provoking-
    15 things you probably never knew or thought about….
    1. At least five people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
    2. At least fifteen people in this world love you in some way.
    3. The only reason anyones would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
    4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.
    5. Every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep.
    6. You mean the world to someone.
    7. If not for you, someone may not be living.
    8. You are special and unique.
    9. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.
    10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
    11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
    12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won’t get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.
    13. Always remember the compliments you recieved. Forget the rude remarks.
    14. Always tell soemone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know.
    15. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

  6. profound, explained simply.
    illusions of elements, senses, situations playing havoc with the entities trapped within. Must be an interesting watch for the creator.

  7. hi admin,
    not necessary to publishi this comment and check the fourth para first sentences..
    “installation would loo like “..i mean it should be “look” instead of “loo”. 🙂
    thanks and take care..subodh

  8. Why have they(god/whoever) stopped making your kinds in my generation?
    I so envy you and all the people who are part of your life!
    btw you along with sonali and kiron are welocme change to television reality judging..finally people whose ego isnt bigger than the show itself.

  9. Dear Mr Kapur,
    I congratulate you for this creation of yours. The vivid picture you have presented for us seems to be giving a hint of the aura that the construction promises to carry. I shall be happy to view it myself. I saw you recently judging “India’s Got Talent” (of course, the show has been on for a while, I just didn’t get a chance to see it before) and as I saw you and your magnanimous gestures, it brought back a series of memories that are associated with you, directly or indirectly, with your acting and your films, and your appearances on tv shows that I so fondly remember from my childhood.
    I read many of your blog items today and was compelled to think about your innermost thoughts, which you have so generously shared with everyone. I admire you for that and more so for your reasoning about various aspects of life.
    Some of the things you wrote hit home with me most willingly as I have often found myself lost in the analysis of life and questioning the very existence of the universe and everything that comes with it. You know where these thoughts take us in the end, it is when we cross the threshold of the tangible and into the realms of the somewhat delusional and yet more sane understanding of ourselves.
    I have a question for you too, have you ever thought about what is true happiness? What is the reason we do what we do? In the end, none of it really matters, all the fame, all the wealth, all the recognition one ever attains, gets lost in the dust of time eventually. Whatever remains with us when we lie on our death-bed? What is it that we worked all our lives for? What is happiness if this isn’t? That’s my question to you, and I would love to hear your views on it, as you get time to write more.
    Thank you for reading my rather long mail.
    Warm regards,
    Yours Truly,

  10. Great. But what are you doing to deter a probable Chinese attack on India in the near future? The pseudos have made India a weak nation which can be captured in a few weeks.

  11. brahmastra, wonder why there are multiple tracks and many trains. Imagine,
    if there was only one track and one train…would there be chaos in attempting to get to our destinations?

  12. Shekhar, the mind begs to visualize and define the experience of your installation..thanks for sharing the process behind the evolution of this work…what have viewers with no prior reference told you about the experience of seeing the installation?.
    i like it when you say it pretty much evolved organically. I watch when my wife paints..it never comes across as a ‘painter’ painting an idea..the idea at that instant – never before never after, seems to finds an expression through her hands over an ever present canvas of creation..the blank canvas itself has had such a wonderful story of creation, passing through many hands before it receives those brush strokes from her hands..once painted it continues breathing ideas into the viewer based on how he or she perceives..creation does not seem to have a boundary in time..i find it interesting how an artist comes along at one point of this everpresent lifecycle and attaches his/her notion of owning/creating it..does art or creativity ever belong? is it not that the artist becomes a medium for the idea..the canvas a medium to hold a notion of it..the viewer who perceives it in his/her unique way..art (life) just beautifully is.

  13. Shekhar, thanks for sharing what feels like a very unique piece of creation..will look forward to experiencing it in person.

  14. kavitha,
    The average indian is completely unaware of the grave threats from the seedy neighbours. And as in olden times when india was captured, the leaders of society are too absorbed in their self-indulgence to be able to form a strong, unified front.
    My above post was in response to an article on TOI which mentioned that china, out of desperation, could attack india by 2012. And it certainly does seem like it is preparing itself. When it comes down to survival, all tracks merge into one.
    Who the heck is swarovsky anyway? Why do such western names garner so much brand consciousness in india despite the fact that even the handicraft workers in india are exponentially more creative and superior? Why are Indians moving away from their collective ‘self’ into an illusion of glam and pseudo-intellectual spider webs?

  15. Aware of the TOI article, brahmastra…and it helps placing your comments in context. Completely in sync with the questions your raise in the latter half. In the moment, it seemed akin to asking the chief of IAF or the PM, ‘what are you doing about making films, or any art for that matter, to serve India’s soul and spirit’. It is still entrenched in the dark legacy of attacks from past history, lost glory, and in a less-than-optimal level of national pride and consciousness.
    If we so desire, I am confident many of us could round up a patriotic troop to line our borders, or provide the intellectual brainpower to the ‘pseudo-intellectuals’ in our administration. A utopian idea at best.
    Moon getting on the sun’s path can only eclipse. Could the moon and sun leave their orbits of gravity?

  16. brahmastra, (you must be aware you are swinging the pendulum in a different direction with this one.I will swing along) . I see an Indian craftsman here with an idea that draws on centuries of Indian wisdom and insight and finally an Indian name (Sankalp) to the work as well. Why does that not draw the attention for you. Does it matter if the spotlight is western? Why would you think this would not serve as an inspiration for the other Indian artists to explore their inherent creativity. The mirrors they make in the west maybe shinier, but you are still enoying the reflection of your Indian self in them – is it not?

  17. What you have attempted/ done is very interesting for me. Apart from a spectacle, this appeals to me on various levels. Its creative genius while operating on simplistic principles of light is superb. At the same time, your post has put me on a thought process I keep re-visiting from time to time, that of what is real and what is not. You have, i think, explored the middle way and the essence of it all and may have come up with a thousand questions while attempting to answer one.. Anyway, without getting into long winding discussion, I think your art installation is superb of whatever I have been able to gather about it from various online sources although I may never get to actually see but still in some strange way, I can imagine how it’ll play out….
    An Admirer

  18. kavitha, a good play of words but amiss of the simple intent of the provoking post. The awareness needs to grow in the lost areas of society. The actions of influential celebrities could be moulded with such awareness. The mental confusion of pseudo-intellectuals and so-called secularists have numbed the machinery more than anything else.

  19. brahmastra, I don’t intend to alter perceptions (that the ‘play of words’ are amiss the orbit of the provoking post’s intent). Frankly, the reality is many of us echo deep down similar sentiments as yours around India, it’s governance, our love for India and things Indian. Each of us ‘doing’ and expressing that in our own unique way to enhance awareness. We are singing the same song, brahmastra. But sometimes we get so emotionally attached to the sentiment, a la fundamentalist, that we lose sight of the manner in which ‘simple intents’ are expressed to those singing along with us. Good intents but amiss a good play of words 🙂

  20. kavitha,
    A pseudo-intellectual mindset cannot grasp straight-shooting words. It will camouflage its insecurities in various manners including unnecessarily weighty vocabulary before it comes to any stable positioning.

  21. Brahmastra, power to you that you don’t consider yourself among the ‘pseudo-intellects’. Moments are better spent appreciating and understanding beauty and beings around us, than debating what constitutes stable positioning. cheers.

  22. kavitha,
    You are a wise person. The path of jnana-yoga is well-suited for you. May i recommend that you get into some popular advaitic teachings..after the cup gets filled, it needs to be emptied. cheers..is it sambar or wine we are drinking? either ways, its a fine treat 🙂

  23. Sambar or wine? — at the moment, a bit of both peppered with an overdose of baltic charm 🙂
    “…after the cup gets filled, it needs to be emptied…” — tiny intellect is unable to comprehend the weighty vocabulary(head is swirling on multiple fronts!). If I may straight-shoot a question — come again, what is it that one requires to qualify to be on the path of jnana-yoga?

  24. baltic charm? exotic! the actual beginning of jnana-yoga is self-inquiry, which ends in self-realization – the pinnacle of sentient achievement. To grasp and implement this method of self-inquiry is the first milestone on the path. Once you grasp it, the cleansing (unlearning) process will begin. Qualifications? it would be reasonable to assume that a ripe soul – one that has experienced enough – would be attracted to this path. In fact, it is the final step for every being.

  25. gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood , faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnntttttttttttttttaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssssttttttttttttttttttttttiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiccccccccccccccccc…………

  26. not intended as a comment to be ‘posted’…an fyi — missing picture on a post that begins with “This is a picture of….”

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