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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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A pristine white cube. You see cows everywhere. Fiber-glass cows suspended at varying lengths, like a room-sized mobile for a child.
Some look back at you squarely in the eye. Some obtrusively dangle at chest-level-you need to duck, plot your way across the room to prevent them from hitting you in the face.
Square in the center of the room, suspended from the fan, a triangu­lar wooden contraption with lights on it spins dangerously, casting shadows on the pristine white walls. Your shadows intersect with those of the suspended cows-you think for a minute of Olafur Elliason and his technicolor shadow works. Here, though, there are cows in their white, clinical sanctity. On the walls, the expanse of white is only interrupted by green stickers.
These seem out of place, perhaps. They include what looks like a plastic bag, a green flag with a crescent cut out and what could be abbreviations of state names-MH for Maharashtra.
There is an element of absurdity, perhaps even bathos to the work-navigating your way around these cows without disturbing the art work, mimics the very real act of driving around cows on our streets, or on more fraught terrain, navigating things like diets and caste-based occupations under the looming narrative of the Cow, as it casts its shadow over everyday life. The absurdity car­ries onto the stickers-does the green silhouette of the plastic bag denote the rumors spread of a plastic bag with the skin and hooves of a cow, that spurred an angry mob to lynch Mohammed Akhlaq? Or do they merely invoke the everyday sight of a cow on the roadside, casually munching on a plastic bag? Taken from being depicted
as a deity into mimicking the form of a mobile hanging over a child’s crib, the cow is accorded a psychic weight here; it is everywhere you look, sometimes it isn’t even a physical presence, but still you see it.

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