Photobook fileona

For the photobook project, I made a flipbook that played with two concepts: the item girl and Game of Life.

• The Item Girl:

Motion Pictures. Images chosen for effect, for visual consumption, chronologically held together by codes of cause and effect. Bollywood motion pictures, or popular hindi cinema is caricatured and referred to by its song-and-dance sequences. A trope within such sequences is the item girl number. Item girls are female performers in dance numbers known as “item numbers” that bear no relation to the narrative. They are inserted purely as spectacular attractions. The item number is presented like a music video, as standalone attraction featuring bodies, spaces, and movement vocabularies. Within the narratives of popular Indian cinema, the item girl is a purely visual entity. As both screen and story are charged with masculine energy, the item girl enters with her vocabulary of movement. She doesn’t speak. She sings and gyrates, satiating the libidinal outburst of the male gaze. And soon enough, as abrupt as her entrance, she fades away.

• Game of Life:

The Game of Life is a ‘cellular automaton’, and was invented by Cambridge mathematician John Conway. It consists of a collection of cells which, based on a few mathematical rules, can live, die or multiply. Depending on the initial conditions, the cells form various patterns throughout the course of the game. A flipbook is a photobook that follows a movement narrative. Both the item girl and the game of life are dictated by rules of movement. To make the relationship between the item girl and the square cell of the game, I had to engage in a conceptual leap of sorts. Collected images of item girl was dithered and glitched, the square cell of the game became a pixel. As the pages move back and forth, the item girl is static pixel and the game of life represented a form of moving inanimate pixel. Since this project was given somewhat last minute, I chose to focus on the formal elements of situating the item girl images with the game of life sequence. I also tried to make the flipbook interactive from the front and from the back. Conceptually, I found very little to push in this project beyond questions of a moving woman, rendered silent by cinematic style, that is then made permanently transmissible as dithered blocks of a glitched image. The game of life too became an interactive element. I did add some QR codes in the opening pages of the photobook project but came to an impasse when I realized I was rendering the item girl into yet another mode of visual media. I was initially interesting in playing with the idea of creating dichotomies: alive-static and moving-silent. In the end, I build a small flipbook that felt tangible and playful.