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Shilpa Gupta & Mahzarin Banaji : While I Sleep
Shilpa Gupta & Mahzarin Banaji
While I Sleep
Valérie Abrial, March 2, 2009
As part of its exhibition/experiment, Le Laboratoire has invited the Indian artist Shilpa Gupta to explore a universal theme: FEAR. A theme unfortunately most present indeed given the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai. This project, prepared with the psychologist Mahzarin Banaji (Harvard professor) explores the power of images as expressed by the behavior of individuals. Is it possible that our fears are influenced by our genetic roots via images?

While I Sleep by Shilpa Gupta & Mahzarin Banaji/Marc Domage
While I Sleep by Shilpa Gupta & Mahzarin Banaji/Marc Domage
 
Living in Mumbai, Shilpa Gupta is directly confronted with the issue of terrorism whose main target consists in a huge number of innocent people of mixed origins and religions. Her daily life, marked by acts of terrorism between Hindus and Muslims very soon oriented her work to ques¬tions and themes omnipresent in today’s life. Anguish, depression, fear… hallmarks of 21st-century societies and cultures. A study of these col¬lective phenomena reveals scientific and social themes. Le Laboratoire decided to step in as a catalyst with the result consisting in an artistic work on the frontier of scientific research.

While I Sleep by Shilpa Gupta & Mahzarin Banaji/Marc Domage
While I Sleep by Shilpa Gupta & Mahzarin Banaji/Marc Domage
 
The power of images

Shilpa Gupta’s work probes cultural globalization, by means of universal themes such as religion, race, the perception of reality… and now, anxiety. The artist explores the impact of images on our modes of thinking. Can some images be of such power that they lead us to modify our interpretation of reality? In this respect, Shilpa Gupta echoes recent conclusions of philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky pointing to the power of the media on public opinion. Invited to participate in Le Laboratoire exhibition, Noam Chomsky suggested replies to Shilpa Gupta’s questions regarding the influence of the media in terms of the power of images and words.


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