For their web residency project Of Roots and Portals: With-nessing, Indigenous Khasi artist Fileona Dkhar created a work that explores different media of correspondence and communication: The acts of writing letters, exchanging cassette tapes, tapping into oral traditions and myths, incorporating sprinklings of algorithmic imagery or fractal image generation, and prompts become tools for world-building and connecting with pasts and futures.
Fileona Dkhar in conversation with Lucreccia Quintanilla and Suvani Suri — Dez 3, 2023
Lucreccia Quintanilla and Suvani Suri: You have been researching what I would consider to be various forms of technologies for communication and entanglements ideas around time and bridging terrains and familial divides. How have these forms worked together as the residency has developed?
»The intention was for the website to serve as an offering to the future, with the story told through sprinklings of algorithmic imagery.«
Fileona Dkhar: The idea to write letters with my father started with a family keepsake – an old cassette tape. On my first birthday, my parents sent my grandmother a tape with them celebrating a performed party from afar on one side (A), and on the other side (B), my grandmother and I talked about pictures from the real party they couldn’t attend, with my aunts there. This tape got me thinking about connecting with pasts and futures, considering what it means to share wishes and regrets across time.
In the residency’s web format, I’ve turned our written exchanges into a web-friendly scrolly-telling format. I’ve also explored how myths and oral traditions pass on knowledge through spoken words. In a way, I feel like these letters are poetic instructions and offerings to a descendant. The project involves text, video, and audio recordings, representing an experimental journey from letters to audio-visual storytelling and confession. For me and my future descendant, communication through »roots and portals« is a historical tapestry entwined with guilt, family myths, expressions of care, and resilience.
All images courtesy Fileona Dkhar
Fileona Dkhar is an Indigenous Khasi visual artist based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Shillong, India. Her work entwines the personal with mythology and history as storytelling devices.
Suvani Suri is an artist/researcher, working with sound, text, intermedia assemblages and actively engaged in thinking through listening. Her practice is informed by the techno-politics of sound, aural/oral histories, and critical imaginations activated by the relational and speculative capacities of voice.
Lucreccia Quintailla is a multidisciplinary artist, DJ, educator, co-director of Liquid Architecture, and a sound system operator. She is interested in sound, collectivity, and collaboration.
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