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Muhammad Sufyan Baig

  • Contemporary Art
  • MA
  • Cross-cultural observations, personal displacement, and limbo: a poetic study of an artist
  • Tutor: John Grzinich
  • Two-channel video feed
  • 17 minutes | on loop

I used the term ‘Limbo’ to describe a state of mind in which an individual consciously or unconsciously build narratives according to their best social understanding. Those narratives can be built brick by brick by observing various social factors such as social circumstances, social conditions, social media, social influence, etc. The narrative that has been created by these factors slightly helps us define a boundary between two different societies. This boundary is where an individual exists after moving from one society to another, in my case, Lahore and Tallinn. 

While in a constant struggle to build a narrative, boundaries work as a space of being and non-being. It is a space where an individual’s existence works as a light whose source is positioned at a distance from where the light is being projected. To simplify, I will describe it as an individual who spent a big part of their life in a society where they made long-lasting social connections. That specific society lies deeper in the person’s existence as an irremovable social entity even after moving to another society. In this case, social aspects such as language, identity, and the position an individual holds in the new society, try to overlap the social norms related to their hometown. This develops a constant struggle in that person to deal with both social components. However, this struggle becomes much easier when it is managed with a balanced attitude.

As now I have experienced displacement from my hometown society, I take limbo as a space of being and non-being. Its existence is supported by the material values that lie in this space. It is sometimes described as a negative space that is pure and flexible to the social entities, such as in a film composition, painting, or in a room. I position myself in a space parallel to the existence of masses. 

Visual work is a two-channel video feed. One panel visualizes the society in Lahore along with a unique green figure in the middle of the frame. In the other panel, I imagine myself in a vast dreamy space, imitating the green figure’s body movements. The video also has sound recorded in the streets of Lahore. Both videos are 17 minutes long without any cuts and observes one of the crowded locations (Landa Bazaar) in Lahore. 

A big part of the credit goes to those people who helped me develop this project.

MACA Supervisor: John Grzinich

Video Producer: Ahmad Raza Mujahid

Sound Producer: Jamie Dean Avis

Sound Recording: Shahid Altaf