Solitude at sea

ADITI BHATKHANDE

There is something mesmerizing about the world’s greatest man-made ecological disaster- the broken porches, isolated parkings lots, torn curtains on lonely window sills. It’s so quiet you can almost hear the baby waves crash against dead fish carcasses and the wind swoosh against the trash nobody wants to clean- when was the last time that the only sound you heard was the waves and the wind?

All these inter-connected elements have a story to tell, about how the sea left them devastated. Still, Kim Stringfellow’s depictions also invite you to continue seeing the mesmerizing side of this disaster. Let the magnificent photography slide into one another and your eyes are lost into the solitude experienced by the Salton sea. For years together, the Salton sea served a purpose- vacation, entertainment, leisure, beauty. And after mankind extracted all that was humanly possible from this gigantic natural body, the Salton sea stopped giving. And finally this piece of nature was able to find the solitude, the riddance from human interaction.

Depicting this solitude helped in isolating the Salton sea in our minds. Maybe the Salton sea does not have to be isolated, maybe the viewer’s mind has to think about all the water transfer deals, the research being conducted on the deaths of Tilapia, the preferences of the tourists at the Yacht club and so on, that have impacted the current state of the Salton sea but NO. My mind isolated this site and almost began thinking of this sea as a mini-planet of its own. Only then was I able to understand why, out of everything Kim Stringfellow could have done with their time, they decided to make such a captivating project on this water-body that unfortunately not too many people know about.

I want my viewers to be able to develop the same form of reasoning when the fiddle through my media ecology project. I want my audio-visual components to be able to isolate the Do Something office and view it as a mini-planet of its own, in order to understand why I spent countless hours scheduling appointments and visits with the DS office. The DS office space has an energy, which I argue is one of the most crucial ingredients in DS’s successful campaigns, particularly those that have made attempts in navigating mindsets and creating behavioral change. DS’s “office vibe” is what drives people at DS to create social impact in a way they’ve always wanted to- to stop approaching social impact as a “heartening rescue mission” and instead approach it as a casual, everyday activity.

While I want my media project to also breakthrough diverse perceptions and stereotypes about races and cultures, I also want to help people raise their own sets of questions about the present state of our diverse communities. I was able to raise similar questions when I was staring at my laptop screen that was playing Emma Charles’ “Fragment on Machines.” Charles’ project brilliantly depicts what it means to live in the internet’s grid and be a part of the over-worked labor force. However, Charles’ is also able to help the audience question their role in this framework- what can be done to disconnect from this web that only spirals us deeper and deeper into dependency on the electric power-outlet.

I aim to use my visual components to help depict one’s role in a similar web of perpetuating stereotypes and raise questions about how our societies are structured and what we do to solidify these unnecessarily complex structures. Is there a way out? There has to be. But as conscious citizens, is it our duty to exit the web, or stay in it and break through the walls of the maze from the inside?

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~ by adubee on October 25, 2016.

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