In 2014, The Gujral Foundation in association with Outset India presented The Transparent Performer III: Some stage direction for [24 Jor Bagh]1/x by Zuleikha Chaudhari. The site-specific installation and performance explored the relationship between the performer and the spectator using scenography as text.
Zuleikha transformed 24 Jor Bagh with running wooden beam that surfaced from the ground and grew downwards from the ceiling. Crisscrossing one another, they ran across the entire house, through the walls and across two floors. Attached to those beams were tube lights that made the beams more pronounced. The text on the walls served as stage directions and instructions on how to navigate through the space. This installation was the artist’s way of making viewers rethink the dynamics of space and movement.
Scenography examines how a space behaves, the interference of construction, material and form, in a given space, empty or filled. Due to its theatrical nature, the interference is ephemeral and transient, bound in a specific time and place that gives up functionality in favor of the speculative act.
Scenographies are often performative environments that are designed not in the sense of being built but of being edited – selected, framed, determined and curated places, series of spaces, points of perspective, ways of looking and routes that provide points of view, frames of vision and vantage points to look from. But this looking is not merely a detached visual activity for the spectator. The looking happens with the whole body. It is choreography. It is a sensorial experience, not unlike that of a performer who engages with his own physicality, space and time in the process of reconstructing himself or constructing an event.