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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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When you enter, you see a dimly lit room; dirt covers the floor. Just as you step in, your foot lands on slick, wet mud and you catch hold of yourself. Your eyes adjust to the light. You see boxes at different heights. A sewing machine, needle poised to pierce a battered metal sheet instead of cloth.

A hole in the ground covered by a precariously thin transparent sheet of plastic with a red glow emanating from it. From one steel trunk, smoke rises. Inside another, you see embers. A small box, which opens to reveal a fabric portrait. A metal thaali, with a small katori and a glass and a stuffed fabric bird on it.

From navigating the slipperiness of the floor to hearing the reverberating roar when you hold up the metal tumbler that you are encouraged to listen to, to your ear, the space itself enacts on bodies. The dark coolness of the room, with its familiar and evocative petrichor scent, seems comforting at first, but on closer inspection, each household ob­ject is discomfiting-twisted out of its original form or purpose. In some sense, it carries a sort of blankness, that you, viewer, can bring your own concerns to. Entering this room is like stepping into a psychic world of uncertainty that has been given corporeal heft, where things are not what they seem, where the familiar is perverted into the eldritch, where the still calm­ness carries an air of foreboding underneath.

Unlike most of the other work on display, there is no immediate topicality or theme to anchor this work-it is not about food, farming, fetuses or fear.

Instead, it is a sensorium-to enter it is to also enter into a moment with yourself and your body, to think about what these smel Is and the sight of half concealed, hazy objects evoke-memories and feelings from your own life.

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