Jai Prakash Narayan was a great revolutionary and freedom fighter who not only worked with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru to win the freedom of India, but also worked with the great revolutionaries and socialists.
‘Maut Ka Ghanta’ revolution tactic was employed by him immediately post Indira Gandhi’s declaration of emergency in 1975. In that flash, at exactly 9 pm each night, the revolutionaries came out to make a horrendous din using utensils and common metal wares, to remind Gandhi that ‘Total Revolution’ is coming.
Charuvi Design Labs founder/director Charuvi Agrawal presents A Tour De Force for The Jayprakash Narayan Museum in Lucknow, where a praxinoscope titled Thali Bajao, attempts to recreate the flash in history.
The seven foot tall revolving sculpture was made using clay, fibre glass, metal, plaster, acrylic in a makeshift workshop over 11 weeks. Kept on a rotating platform and with perfectly calibrated strobe lights, the sculpture is designed to take you into the true essence of what it is, mentions Agrawal.
Before the advent of celluloid film, devices were employed to emulate illusion of motion using series of images. This was called praxinoscope, an optical technique which was a precursor of the moving picture. “I was motivated to create a piece which could evoke the protest of 1970 in its true sense. We employed the technique of a praxinoscope using series of sculptures. At the same time I wanted to use modern technology and animation,” said Agrawal.
Talking about the challenges faced, Agrawal mentioned how a kinetic piece always feels like a freaky science experiment where a slight miscalculation can make things go totally wrong. When dealing with large scale piece, material, weight, timeline, location and planning becomes very crucial. The team barely had about two months to create the work post the concept was finalised. “There were days where it almost felt impossible. But the joy to see the work evolve and resolution to get it right was always the driving force,” added she.
Once the sculpture starts its rotation, the strobe lights and unique geometry of the artwork create a praxinoscopic illusion of reality. Each and every uniquely designed and hand-painted figurine comes alive, enveloping the viewer into that era, bringing that energy and creating the atmosphere during the revolutionary movement. It transports one alongside the youth, pedestrians and luminaries in Patna and let one feel the true pulse of Bihar, two generations ago.
The installation makes one understand the physics and dynamics of constructing a large structure and also takes one on an emotional ride, recreating the historical impact of the protest and feel the deep rooted emotions attached to the movement.
A visit to the museum to dive in this enthralling experience is a must if you are an art lover, a science freak, a history fanatic or just a curious soul.