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Once Given Universe

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How frequently do we see what we have learnt to see, rather than what is actually there? This installation uses a variation of a phenomenon known as Mach’s Bands, named after physicist Ernst Mach. The title is a key phrase from his work, asserting the pre-conditions for all observation and speculation, which C.S. Unnikrishnan at TIFR has built on in developing a theory of Cosmic Relativity. This argues, contrary to Einstein, that the speed of light is only constant within a frame of reference provided by the mass of the entire Universe. Light, in its plenitude of rational and spiritual meaning, becomes once again part of tangible kinematics, rather than an abstract anomaly. For me, this restores an underlying reality to the Universe, and a coherence to our individual experiences. In this installation, Light, and our perception of it, is both subject and medium. Is one half darker, or is the other lighter? An illusion of relativity conceals the underlying unity. In the context of Delhi, a city that I have experienced as fractured by a million competing solipsists, I hope the work reminds us of the importance of a shared conception of space