India will immerse viewers in one of the troughs used in indigo production, a dye used to make jeans and other textiles, whose methods have gone largely unchanged for millennia.
Presenting films of the workers, who stand in a line thrashing the water with their outstretched legs, the installation will exploit the hours of hard labour produce only a small bar of concentrated dye, known as ‘blue gold’.
The story of indigo is closely aligned with India’s design identity. As a natural form of dye, it is a reminder of traditional methods of cultivating and processing textiles that were pioneered in the subcontinent. In terms of its status as a colour that is inseparable from luxury and desire on the one hand, and exploitation on the other, it is a highly ideologically loaded design tool, which needs to be asserted as being representative of India’s design identity.