Sharath Chandra Ram (Bangalore, India)

Director/Producer: Sharath Chandra Ram

Sharath Chandra is an experimental media artist, currently based in Bangalore, India.

After graduating with a Masters in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (within the Institute of Perception, Action and Behavior)   in 2008 with specializations in Interactive Systems,  audio-video processing and Virtual Environments , he has  research interests pertaining to human machine interfaces, perception studies and adaptive systems in smart energy homes using persuasive agents.

His recent work ‘Neon Fauna’ (installed at the ‘Sound and Lights’ exhibition of Jaaga.in  in collaboration with the Goethe Institute @Bangalore)  is his first in a series of interactive video art that shall explore ‘generalized symmetry’ and interactions that exist between Nature and Artificial Reality.

As a licensed radio broadcaster (VU3HPA), he has been an RJ for Edinburgh’s ‘Fresh Air’, produced radio documentaries for PANOS UK ( @Nepal), trainer for community radio NGOs (VOICES-UNDP), speaker at the International HAM-Radio Convention (Port Blair, 2006) and is a proponent of the free use of airwaves for relief work, education and transmission art.

As a film enthusiast, he is a member of the Edinburgh Filmhouse Film Guild and played an active part as a reviewer at the 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival.

THINKING SMALL [00:00]
Budget: 100 British Pounds

Thinking Big by Thinking Small’ – Micro visuals,  Minute interactions and activities in the world of insects  bacteria, microbes and flora, often overlooked, have a direct correlation and feedback to the life and activities of humans that degrade our living environment.

In my current experimental work and in my film for Project Green, one of the aspects I will explore are micro interactions  and their parallels to human life and our mechanized artificial environment.

The age old adage of computer user interfaces : WYSIWYG  is infact : What You DON’T See Is What You Get. When one stares at the sheet white computer screen, the image is really, an illusion created by appropriate shades of Red Green and Blue elements of minute pixels. My first test visual using a DIY microscope on my computer screen reveals these unit  pixels.

As human beings on top of the ecological pyramid, we often are oblivious to the presence of little insects, microbes and bacteria. Ironically the total mass of these organisms on Planet Earth, far exceeds the mass of multi cellular organic species of flora and fauna.

It is still a mystery , how photosynthesis in leaves and bacteria, capture light’s energies at efficiencies yet unapproached by human engineers.

 

While we feel that we are technologically advanced , we  have infact resorted to the easiest and most disruptive methods of  producing energy, especially the nuclear way.  Repeated attempts to introduce sustainable sources and methods are thwarted by corporate pressure.

In the recent wake of the Tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear leak, I have been quite active in the radio frequencies with my fellow radio stations from Japan. It is devastating to know about how information regarding the nuclear leak has been suppressed, despite Fukushima being the greatest tragedies of the planet. Still, there seems to be no cap on the construction of new nuclear power projects. Reports suggest that the amount of Plutonium that has escaped into the atmosphere is sure to promote cancer  in the next 6 years in Japan, as well as via North American rains. I cannot think of a better way to sensitize my viewers than with compelling footage of cancerous cell division and multiplication.

On the macro- level, I feel multiplication of mutant cells are so very analogous to the uncontrolled fission of Uranium that produce neutrons in the chain reaction.

When I start filming and processing images  of these micro interactions, I wonder if it is infact these advanced microbes who have been observing us (in and out) all these years.

Take for instance — dutiful ants who walk great distances in search of  food but suprisingly walk back home by computing the shortest path of a straight line — thanks to an advanced visual system that stiches a panaromic view of their paths. I beleive certain faculties for adaptation become even more advanced in microbes.

 

Being the most primitive and native organisms of planet Earth, ever since life first emerged, they are part of a crucial feedback and control system to signal ecological imbalances created by man. Infact, everytime a major disorder occurs in the habitat of  viruses  , they go out in seek of a new host (at times, human hosts) to cause chaos everywhere. Interestingly the SARS epidemic (now dormant) spread solely though the air filters of airplanes, spreading throughout the world via passengers. It maybe also noted that the carbon foot print of a person flying on an airplane from, say, north UK to the south, is equal to a whole year’s of driving up and down. These are just some of the parallels that I intend to bring out visually in my film.


I am in the process of accquiring high end footage of microbia and viruses, via the Department of Microbiology at University of Edinburgh as well as the Indian Institute of Science, in Bangalore, India .

I am sure just picturing the above thoughts has caused a sense of unease. This is exactly the feeling I would like to cause to the viewer; happy candy balls of hope and pretence that everything is still under our mechanized control is not something that convinces me.

Of course, the above footage will be suitably contrasted with hopeful visuals of sustainable energy solutions, with lots of green and sun, underlining a major need for change. This will be coupled with an automatic soundscape that suggests the feeling for change and realization, self-generated using image processing by analyzing movements in the video frame and converting them to sounds.


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One comment

  1. Urbanmythologist

    Grand Plans for the first week of August in progress:

    I arrive at a superb (clearly, the world’s largest) sustainable community located close to the beautiful coastal city of Pondicherry, in the South of India. (Also called ‘The French Riviera of the East’).

    Life here is a constructive experiment , secluded from the humdrum of publicity. A few people here, have indeed been kind enough to allow me to document their work.

    Here awaits Lucas, who with his team ‘Eco-PRO’ has been using EM – ”EFFECTIVE MICROORGANISMS” – for the last twelve years and have guided its use in farming, animal husbandry and aquaculture, composting and solid waste management, sewage and effluent treatment, sanitation and hygiene management, and environmental rehabilitation.

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