Vaibhav Bhawsar’s “Udder-Utter”

udder.jpgVaibhav Bhawsar wrote the following on A-bog: Udder-Utter is an instrument that utters syllabic sounds derived from the Devanāgarī alphabet, which is used to write Hindi and other Indo-Arabyan languages. It’s playability is inspired by the gestures involved in milking a cow. The sounds that this instrument utters are intended to be a mix of discrete and continuous in nature and are rhythmic due to their syllabic / phonetic origins. I see the Udder as an instrument for constructing and rupturing meaning through its playability, by using syllabic sounds to construct monosyllabic meanings and imagery to extract formal elements.

Imagery: I am interested in expressing how we humans have parasitic tendencies. In one hand we create but in the other we consume and create voids. I am particularly interested in playing with the expression “milking the cash cow” by literally having the instrument sap colours out of currencies (notes/bills). I have selected a series of currencies from nations that celebrate their abundance of certain natural resources and manpower. Its interesting to observe how countries create a reference to their “cash cow” via currencies. And in particular one sees patterns of representation through iconography- such as farmers, tractors, cash crops, chimneys, industrial sheds, mineral deposits, mines etc, all of which serve as mastheads of development for emerging economies.

In the globalized landscape such countries see themselves as offshore providers of resources to larger and richer countries. It is amusing that emerging economies are in ways the cash cow for richer nations who often sift for foreign resources before they begun to consume their own as an act of self-preservation or find it cheaper to do so in their neo-imperialistic spirit. It is this vicious underrepresented portrait of national interests vs vested interests that I want to express through this instrument and performance. To me it is important to represent the consumed and less the consumer and so the selection only includes currencies of developing economies.

Udder in use

The screen component for the performance reacted to the instrument I built for the NIME class. For this I had to interface MAX/MSP to C++ via openFrameworks and OSC. The visual idea was to extract colours out of images and simultaneously erase them in the process. Image pixels were used to read colours and then the colours were mapped onto a stroke that was modulated depending on sensor values from the instrument. The speed with which the image lost colours depended on how the instrument was played (fast/slow) and on certain other parameters.

From his webste:

I graduated in Communication Design from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology located in Bangalore, India in 2004. I intend to pursue a creative practice where I would like to understand and deploy sociable media and context driven communication platforms. I am particularly inspired by the open source software movement and would like to combine some of its ethics into my creative practice. I dislike categorising my practice as either being Art or Design and prefer to simply call it creative practice, where I am learning to embrace creative sensibilities that arise from both, artistic as well as design thought processes and references. To me design and art is a way of thinking rather than doing.

My recent most exhibited work is titled ‘The Lowlands’ project, which explores alternative mapping practices in order to elicit unspoken and unseen territories in my sub-urban neighborhood of Bangalore. The Lowlands Project was exhibited at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz in September 2005. I interpret this project as a stepping-stone towards understanding social spaces, geography, and locative media and technologies.

Jan 29, 2008
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