Kerala, Random Randal, 2010
random randal
 
 
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Boy picking up bottles on his styro raft.

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With Viraj Singh in Bombay.

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The haunting Banganga tank in Bombay. It's a satellite body of the Ganges.

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Deity in Bombay.

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At the little elephant temple.

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Elisa on Karnataka coast.

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I found my balance on a cliff of somewhere on the Karnataka coast. I'm not saying where since I'd like to keep coming back to these little paradise beaches over my lifetime, and hope they don't turn into Varkalas.

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A theater artist named John Vekkan invited me for dinner. he's an important figure in Malayalam theater. His son is studying art at the college.

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As (one of my) birthday gifts, I get a dragon painted on my arm by Sm

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Communist Kerala

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With Shivaji Pannikar- controversial art critic, we had great conversations.

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Nandakumar

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talking to Shiek who is indeed a very erudite man.

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Eminent artists and art historians Gulam Muhammed Sheik and Nandakumar are giving lectures at the Seminar on "Intervisualities"

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Elisa's new friend Teenu.

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Nidu is an arti student and made this installation about the seasons.

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"The happy family"

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A student's artwork on the theme of water.

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with traditional dancers who teach at the college, following their performance.

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post fire-dance

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post fire-dance

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One evening the students invite us to a tribal firedance. The energy is out of control.

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the finished "randals' before they are hung and the space cleaned.

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Anil's friend Abdul Azad is a local photographer living in Kochi.

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With the musicians who played classical Carnatic music for the happening.

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With another Anil- he was the student leader of the powerful student group

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With more students

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With students amid good feeling after our Happening.

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Me and Anil following tour big "Happening"

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One day working on the project the students brought in many coconut leaves and we wove them together for the roofs of the lanterns.

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Zizke is speaking in Ernakulum closeby and we go to see him call for a new Communist beginning, and to shed light on the extent of Capitalist ideology that permeated life.

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Convergent with my being at the college is a seminar called Transtrends. Students made this sculpture over the school's gate for it.

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we spent a few days shopping for the project: hardware stores, electrical stores, fabric, lighting, bamboo, nicknacks.

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This is a traditional Kerala house- shady and low-lying with an elegant shingled roof.

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Foraging for materials for the project, we meet this guy who grows Bonzai trees.

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As soon as I get there, I realize there is some politics going on in the institution concerning my presence there. Forms must be signed, strategies are taken. Here is Anil and me with the hard-won signed form that allowed us to start on Random Randal.

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A store that sells things salvaged from ships.

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The college is in Tripunithura which was once the seat of the royal family of Cochin. This art school was originally built by the royals to train their court musicians. A year ago they got this fancy new building.

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We arrive at RLV college, and finally I meet Anil Dayanand, my penpal for the last 4 years and the artist who invited me to do a project in Kerala.

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Fort Kochi's Chinese fishing nets.

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little picture shop where you pick up your alter-images: Kirshna, Shiva, Ganesh, Gandhi and all the rest. The man had been running this shop since 1964 and it looked as if he was selling some of his original merchandise.

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Anti drug sign in Malayalam: (a palindrome)

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a shop

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I found the workers relaxing in the shade under the red flag.

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a little trash area- one of the most common sites in India. But you won;t find useful junk here like on New York streets.

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Christmas stars at an old Portuguese church in Fort Kochi. These paper stars were everywhere in Kerala (all Keralites give a now to Christmas) and amazingly, each one we saw was different.

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View out of a stainless steel shop at an Ambassador car- the classic Indian automotives that are everywhere (taxis are white in this part of Kerala. Its a Colonial sheik- but definitely looks good.

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Kerala is a Communist State (more on that later...) We see this little monuments everywhere.

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Cover of my dad's latest book matching the sheets.

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Leavng Bangalore, we voyage to Varkala which is a coast town in Kerala. Little did we know we were heading into the domain of a multi headed hydra called "developing resort city" It was built up along the cliff- you can see it as a bright strip

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Third class train compartment. Look closely at the detals: you can charge your laptop and there is a place to put water bottles. Indian train design is rough but highly functional and the train system seems to function with mindboggling order despite an o

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The second floor of that building is 1 Shanthi Road- an art utopia run by Suresh Jayaram who is working in his own project to map out Bangalore. I've been through this place twice- both times encountered a small alluring tribe of artists in residency.

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with Elisa and Smriti in Bangalore.

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Meandering about town, we found the Koli fishermen an ancient village in the middle of Bombay.

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First Sunset in Bombay

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Merry Kwastmas! We notice these dummies all over- always with a bottle of liquor in the pocket.

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The arrival in Bombay train station- the largest in Asia- India Railways is the second largest employer in the world, India's stations are places of sublime grandeur with a patina.

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Just a moment to glimpse the finery of First Class- here we see Euros in full splendor.

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The Tin Eagle lies in waiting; skies above speak in strange oaths.

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Riding in Airtrain to Newark where we will embark.

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Walking around ie circuambulating Mt Arunachal is a prescribed activity here in Tiruvanamalai. Indeed, you "get walked" around the mountain more than go for a walk...go see for yourself! Right after this picture we got hit by a short but heavy r

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The holy elephant living in the big temple of Tiruvanamalai (in Southern India, Tamil Nadu) blesses anyone who puts a coin in its trunk.

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This is post-mushing, and the best I could do to clean up the banana leaf. It's not easy with one hand, rice and sauce! But some Indians I watched got it squeaky clean: a very refined style that would take years of practice and require a somewhat fresh u

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There is the simple meal. The next thing is to get the right hand in there and start mushing it around.

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Serving food at the Ramana Maharshi Ashram. On banana leaves, and you eat with your hands- a wonderfully physical experience! I'd like to keep it up here in the US but it just wouldn't fly.

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On the ascent to the little cave monastery where Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi sat for years and towards the mountain peak, we pass this mix of souls and styles, seemingly typical of "spiritual centers" in India.

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Here is the oily peak of Mt. Arunachala: the OM center point of the universe!!!

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12/15/2011