Villupt- Existence vs Extinction

Nobina Gupta

Many facets of our life and environment are at the edge of an undeniable crisis, whispering slowly, begging us to take notice before they dissolve into nothingness. Standing at the critical point of inflexion, where so much is under threat, it’s time we re-examine and understand our own existential crisis.

Aspiring to a new world of artificial intelligence, bio-technology, and augmented reality based on algorithms, we, humans, desire to dominate every element. The worldview of impermanence is a truth adhered to in several parts of Asia and so it follows that what is real is the existing moment, the present that is a product of the past, or a result of  causal action. In response ‘Villupt -Existence vs Extinction’ is an installation aiming to sensitize the modern human to examine one’s mind-body dichotomy, albeit in an provocative way. Through an allegorical representation in the form of fossils, this interactive artwork highlights the rampant extinction of species through generations. It raises an alarm on the ongoing paradigms of development and questions the monologues created by humans leading us to an impending crisis. The imprints are valuable evidence to the loss of species, and the theory of evolution provides us the missing links connecting art, ecology, archeology, with pedagogy.

As a catalyst, Nobina Gupta has been investigating and researching the innumerable infinite changes within microorganisms and organisms that go unnoticed, unacknowledged or unattended though simultaneously and silently existing with and within us. This work is in conversation with her other works, (a) ‘Beneath the Surface’ which is a reflection of this constant state of flux within which we survive; (b) ‘Whispering Tracks’  which reflects how unplanned developments, non-sustainable usage of natural resources, encroachment on wetlands, and the mismanagement of the Sundarbans, are drastically increasing loss through natural calamities. We have recently witnessed this loss through the ramifications of the ongoing pandemic and the recent devastating cyclones Amphan and Yaas. These projects echo a plea to sustain the much-required balance between humans and non-humans, environment, growth, and equity that will hopefully positively impact not just us but also the earth we inhabit.

Nobina Gupta

As a socially engaged practicing artist, Nobina Gupta has constantly felt responsibility towards confronting and responding to socio-spatial realities, to climate emergencies, and more significantly, to behavioural changes in humans. Articulating the profound relationships, lived experiences, metaphysical ideas, offered through a complex layering of forms and meanings, Gupta has been researching on creative ecology. This gave her the impetus to ideate and curate the  ‘Disappearing Dialogues Collective’. In the past 8 years, as the Founder Director of the Collective, and collaborating alongside interdisciplinary practitioners, youths from various communities and organizations, Gupta has strived towards making them proactive towards conservation and sustainability. The ‘Disappearing Dialogues Collectives’ lies at the intersection of education, environment and innovative arts practices, co-creating experiences that foreground cultural and environmental assets, losses, sentiments and memories intrinsic to vulnerable places and communities. 

Gupta has created a niche for herself through significant representations at national and international forums – from the India Art Fair and the Art Fair Cologne, Germany; to Art Stages, Singapore; Art Asia Miami, and Art Dubai. As a solo artist her work has been showcased at Gallery Sanskrit, Kolkata, Jan Kossen Contemporary Gallery, Basel, and Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich, and has participated in group shows in the UK, Sweden, Indonesia, and India.

In public realms she expands her practice through a series of engaging interactions. Significant among them are the sensory receptive installation ‘Kalpataru-The Wishing Tree’ in New Delhi, ‘Whispers & Vibrations’ a geo-choreography with nomadic children in Ladakh with the Japan Foundation, ‘Impressions of Mindscape’ – with local passengers at CST platform, with O2 in Mumbai, ‘Rat Race’ at the International Kolkata Book Fair, ‘Disappearing Streams’– a Video Art for the Inner Nature travelling public exhibition in Spain. ‘Waters of Change’, an online archive on works by multiple art practitioners, addresses issues around water.