Where the river goes...

Ambika Shaligram
Tuesday, 10 October 2017

In an email chat, light artist Philipp Geist talks about ‘Riverine Zone’, a water-video installation, which he is bringing to Pune

After last year’s impressive videomapping-installations on Shaniwarwada, light artist Philipp Geist is back with an interesting project called ‘Riverine Zones’, a water-video-installation.

In this installation, Geist shows video recordings of rivers from different international locations. With underwater-video-cameras, he records the world under water. It is an attempt to get in touch with our immediate but distant reality, an artistic discussion with the element water. 

Here, he explains the project and various aspects of it. Excerpts from the conversation:

What have you planned for the Pune edition of ‘Riverrine Zones’?
I have been working on this project since 2006. I presented it in different installation forms. With hundreds of prints, small screens, large projections or as permanent installations. If possible, I always add the local river to the project. 

Last year, I was able to film the local river in Pune. I added this to the installation. It will be shown with five video protectors on the walls, the visitors can enter a black box and will be surrounded by water sounds and different movies. It’s a multi-channel installation.

Have you been to the river banks of Mula-Mutha in Pune before? Can you share your views on it?
I filmed last year in Pune and to be honest, I was shocked and sad about the dirt and pollution of the river.

Which international rivers would be showcased in this project? How did you go about choosing them?
I filmed at many different rivers. Usually, when I am developing an installation and exhibition in a town, I always try to film the local river. Like this year in Venice, I presented an indoor and outdoor light installation and took the chance to film the canals in Venice.

Did you establish a connection with the water bodies that you have sought to shoot?
Rivers have fascinated me since my childhood. Although rivers are next to the cities, there is often no connection to it, it is a parallel world. It is like fishing images and often you get surprised about what is inside the rivers — Fishes, bicycles, bottles, plants, crayfish and shells.

Do you also get any environment expert to talk about how we are polluting our water bodies?
I develop an artistic project, the topic pollution is an important part of my project but not the only one. It is not a documentary movie, often the images are blurred and abstract, sometimes clear. You can see the surroundings, the river banks, buildings, pollution, waste in the rivers. But I try to develop something beautiful too.

Have you had a chance to connect with the aboriginals or tribals over this issue? They might have a very pure bond with the water bodies, respecting it as one of their ‘gods’, may be?
No, unfortunately not. Yes this could be interesting too. Water and rivers are such an open and wide topic. I‘m very interested in connections of different directions.

ST READER SERVICE
Light artist Philipp Geist will do a ‘Water-Video Installation’ on Wednesday evening, from 7 pm, at the rooftop terrace, Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan, Pune

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