[ISEA94] Artist Talk: Sadhna Jain – Identity Crisis: Cultural Mapping

Artist Statement

The desire to travel has accelerated into a frenzy satisfying our fantasies of uncovering unfamiliar places, a demand for the exotic and confronting rituals of the primitive. Technology has permitted travel at phenomenal speeds, ironically shortening the length of stay in territory which ultimately remains foreign. The western traveller confronted with an alien environment observes an array of ‘ethnic rituals’ through a range of sophisticated electronic products, then frantically returns home with each recorded image serving as a measure of his/her western supremacy. Experiencing the ‘other’ really occurs.

The electronic gateways continue to channel traffic along all possible routes, yet the traveller approaching from the opposite direction is confronted with these gateways that rapidly
metamorph into barriers. The West becomes a frontier inpenetrable without the correct data and sufficient information. Each gateway selects, records, and tags the individual. Once within the walls of the fortress each movement is discreetly observed, the act of surveillance embedded within local environments carefully observing the identities of those that are alien – Distance is encouraged – Interaction is not. For the visitor, routes are preset, environments controlled, orientation determined by those in control. The visitor has arrived but the culture remains remote. Identities are preserved.

  • Sadhna Jain is an Artist/Designer exploring a variety of digital and video processes in an attempt to confront and examine social and political issues. The most recent work vigourously debates the role of a cultural identity in the technological environment and proposes solutions which demand an imaginative interplay of the two. She is lecturer at University of Portsmouth, Department of Design. U.K.