April 5 - April 16, 2017 I Exhibition Ground, Unit 3, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Artists: Ramahari Jena, Ramakanta Samantaray, Smrutikanta Rout, Satyabhama Majhi, Sibdas Sengupta, Julius Das, Soumya Ranjan Lenka, Susant Sahoo, Biswajeet Sahoo, Arpita Bhanja, Snehalata Moharana, Smruti Tripathy, Udhab Behera, Sital Begam, Alisha Sanganeria, Manaranjan Das, and Rupal Satpathy.
The ‘Thought Loom’ built on the idea of the experience of opening a book and wove in the concepts of the genesis to the final presentation of a book on a single stage. It sought to represent the collective consciousness of wherever it was staged in the lucid format of a book display. It consisted of a structure and public interaction components that resulted in a public project over the course of the Bhubaneswar Book Fair (5/4/2017 to 16/4/2017).
The loom’s structure was that of an open book’s three parts propped vertically against each other creating the shape of a 3-pointed star and 3 spaces. The dimensions of the structure were roughly 7 ft in height and it had a diameter of 20 ft. The structure was entirely made of bamboo and allowed visibility between the three spaces.
The three spaces were as follows:
Thought Capture: Participants were invited to document a thought or a feeling or an idea on a paper using materials like sketch pens, pencils, brushes, crayons, old magazines. Eminent writers and poets like Ramakant Rath, etc., were invited to come in and write pieces of poetry. Also, all visitors were encouraged to write something (a thought, or an idea, or a reflection, or lines of a poem or prose piece from memory, etc.), or draw a picture, or sketch a drawing, etc. on a given theme of the day. Artist volunteers would be on hand to guide participants through the process.
Book Creation: Once the idea is documented, the participants would walk over to the Book Creation corner where artists would put their page together into a book. The ‘Thought Loom’ w integrated three traditional Indian styles of bookmaking - Odia, Rajasthani and Himachali. This showcased the traditional methods of bookmaking that have existed in India for a long time. It is to be noted that the nature of the ‘Thought Loom’ allowed it to take the characteristics of the space where it was installed. In this case the Indian stage allowed us to showcase Indian bookmaking traditions. Once the page was added to the book the participant was guided through a photo with the book in which his/her page was added.
The Diary of the Conscious: This was the final display area of all books created in the ‘Loom’. This was where the public could read the final set of books produced. Volunteer artists were at hand to explain the concept of the ‘Diary’ to all onlookers and also assist in taking photos there.
The Thought Loom was an extraordinary success at the Bhubaneswar Book Fair quickly becoming a crowd favourite. Over 500 people were engaged over 12 days of tireless work by the artists of the Utsha Collective. People of all ages from children to adults expressed their creativity on the beautiful pages that were then crafted into several handmade books. Odia celebrities including veteran actor Bijay Mohanty, director Sabyasachi Mohapatra, poet Ramakant Rath and Rabi Swain were among the few who came to the installation.
The final evening was capped by an impromptu certificate distribution ceremony with eminent Odia entrepreneur Subroto Bagchi dropping by to felicitate the artists of a happy Utsha collective.