normal people that teach magic

[Videostills of the 3 videos shown with different screens and displays. The images of each video are different from each other in the sense, that they were made and produced either by me, the artist, or the security guards himself, often together with the translator Johnny Jaganath.  The text is a transcription of the dialogue, which is hearable as a voice/sound over.]

video installation
adjoined sound installation together 
with Ayisha Abraham
Bangalore, India

HDV, DV-Pal 4:3
two projections and one 15“ TV
32 min

with the voicess and experiences of six security guards

Camera, Sound and Editing - 
Dina Boswank
Translation and Subtitles - 
Johnny Jaganath, Dolwa Ullrich
Support - 
Ayisha Abraham, Markus Tauber, Ceejo Cyriac, Goethe-Institut Bangalore & Goethe-Zentrum Coimbatore

Thousands of young farmers are coming to Bangalore from northern parts of India (Orissa or Assam), because of their good reputation as security guards - they are said to be able to just sit‘n‘watch calmly like nobody else. I talked to them, but all of us, the interpreter, the individual Guard and me where challenged with four languages (Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, English); we talked about invisible dreams and thoughts with words being completely fluid in meaning: Fragments of their home villages were expressed with fantastic ghost experiences (bhutas, bhoot kahanis) - an extract from archaic folklore tradition.

These experiences were either perceived by themselves or they are reflecting social and psychological influences within the mainly migrated, but still close-knit village community.  A fictitious layer in the chaotic urban landscape, trying to fit into it without losing its inner logic.

In another context Walter Benjamin once noted that „falling asleep and waking up are the last experiences of thresholds, that are left to us.“ That interestingly relates to the idea of transfering an inner atmosphere into a kind of floating shape in the urban existence, dealing with the cityscape in an indian city, the criss-crossing of social rules in an anonymous athmosphere and the long night-shifts of the individual guard. Of course, and that is the difference between Benjamin‘s and the guard‘s spaces, the term threshold is not only refering to something abstract as it did for a philosopher in Europe at his time. The people I spoke to are spending their days and nights at a very clear spatial and social frontier, the gates of apartment blocks.

I transcribed the texts of the interviews. Thus projected, it slowly unfolds intimate words line by line and the images just as slowly as the text are showing their individual exploration and movement in the narrow spaces they are working in.

[Videostill of the main screen. The main entrance of an appartment house in Cooke Town, Bangalore, India.]

Part I: The Building
A building is in focus. In its middle is a huge hole defining the future centre point of a shopping mall. Not yet covered with plastic it is reflecting incoming sounds in every little corner and in every frequency. 
A character in itself. So, the watchman and the boys are all listening.One is quite and restless, the other one wonders and sets up links. These links are scattered. A just arrived old lady can use her dreams to bring some structure into his thoughts. She comes from his village, that he left in early life.

Part II: The Entrance
The existence and design of gates in front of apartment blocks is important in the Bangalorean landscape. It is a projected image of the inhabitants and a contrast to the open pavement [outside].
As a listener of one guard, who is telling me something about Dains [witches or Chudails], magical tigers and little fires in a finger, I am just as helpless as someone who can not enter any of these gates. 
It is reflecting, glassy, shining steel. The reader [as all outsiders] is constantly searching for a position and a thought, that allows him to understand and imagine the words in a continuous way.

[Videostills and exhibition views, in „Nightshift“ a collaborative exhibition with Ayisha Abraham, Goethe-Institut Bangalore MMB, 2010 // „Nightshift II“, Goethe-Institut Coimbatore, 2010]