(RMIT University, Melbourne)
Soumitri Varadarajan is Deputy Dean (Industrial and Interior Design) at RMIT University. His creative practice deals with re-imagining mass produced materiality. As part of his work within the research group “Mediated Body” he focuses upon the construction of (faux) materiality as theoretical provocations in health and sustainability. The provocations are aired online as a ‘campaign’ to infect the viewer with improbably notions, as a way to loosen notions of the “right way”. His work is infused with cultural and social research often containing hidden-meanings which are designed to remain secretive and unknown, to await unraveling. His body related work has taken him on field work to remote rural communities to sit down women and listen to them tell of their experiences of childbirth. These collected stories have instilled in him a suspicion of large scale focussed upon changing the way these women think about their bodies and how they act out their experiences of pregnancy. Another recent work deals with the design and construction of a travelling “literary festival” – The Book Wallah. The project, containing an infusion of multiple narratives, involved the construction of bespoke bookcases using hi-tech digital fabrication, which are then covered with kangaroo leather so that it easily degrades and pick up scuffs and signs of travelling.
The images below are of cloth “probes” developed for use in rural community settings – as a cloth spread on the ground to initiate a conversation. (2010)
A reinterpretation of the pinard horn to give the mother a way to listed to the foetus. (Ceramic slip cast, 2012)
Below are images of “journalling” pieces – these are examples of ways of keeping a record of events during a pregnancy. (Laser cut mdf and thread, 2012)
The images below are from the field trip to Assam. The trip collected stories about women’s experiences of maternity and childbirth in remote and rural areas.
The images below are of the travelling library. THE BOOK WALLAH PROJECT can also be seen at – http://www.thebookwallah.com/