Mother India : Transactions in the Construction of Pain
Video Installation , 5 Projections, 5 1/2 mins, 2005
  "How is it that the imaging of the project of nationalism in India came to include the appropriation of bodies of women as objects on which the desire for nationalism could be brutally inscribed and a memory for the future made?"

- Veena Das

  Inspired by an essay by the sociologist Veena Das titled “Language and Body: Transactions in the Construction of Pain”. Apart from the fact that the birth of India and Pakistan was the scene of unprecedented collective violence, one hundred thousand women from both sides of the border were forcibly abducted and raped. As Das says, “The bodies of women were metaphors for the nation, they had to bear the signs of their possession by the enemy”.

The language of pain as expressed by women who suffered the violence turned into a zone of silence or the “ language having all the phonetic excess of hysteria that destroys apparent meaning.” It is this form that I use in my work. Possession by inflicting extreme sexual violence on women has had a trajectory right up to present times. Witness Gujarat 2002. In a sense this is a work in line with my video “Unity in Diversity” which addresses the dissolution of this very concept that India as a nation state started out with.

Also the woman as mutant, de-gendered, violated beyond imagination, has been an on going pre-occupation in my work.

  5 projectors, 6 DVD players, Sound system, amplifier, 5 directional speakers or 5 Sound Showers, DVD Synchronizer for 6 dvd players,2 black benches. Dimensions variable. Basic size of room 7 L X 11 W X 4 Hmeters Acknowledgements: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne Gandhi Film Foundation, Mumbai; Indian Video Art Archive, Mumbai; Lucas Artists Programs, Montalvo Majlis, Mumbai; Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai ; Shared Footage, Mumbai Special thanks to: icon India and Bose Pacia Gallery New York Text inspired by: Language and Body : Tranactions in the Construction of Pain By Veena Das from Social Suffering, edited by Kleinman, Das and Lock. Oxford University Press. 1998
copyright © Nalini Malani