The Practice of Letters (Aksharabhyasam)
The Practice of Letters involves the collection and animation of the phrase
“Tongue of the hand” written in different languages. The viewer is invited to
trace the projection on a bed of rice. The choice to include rice is inspired by a childhood ritual of writing letters on rice during holidays and early learning ceremonies. This work reverses the act of writing into drawing and the digital into the tactile with the use of animation, projection and participation. By engaging with the work, the viewer is asked to return to the moment when we first learn coding in language and reconnect with rote repetition, which is so much part of learning how to read and write. The strangeness that we feel with the act of tracing an unfamiliar script, could possibly ask us to question our relationship with the digital and our distance from the tactile. The act of tracing the projected writing requires watchfulness and a relinquishment of our urge to take charge of what the line does. The coding does not mean anything to us and the content is opaque and strange. All we can do is go through the motions and hope to connect with the meaning.