[S]talked: scars in time & space is an essay of photographs that gives voice to the alarmingly unspoken, ignored and misrepresented trauma of stalking in an attempt to trigger understanding and dialogue. Through the medium of black & white film photography, the artist portrays a vicarious experience of trauma by expressing the victim’s battle with the intangible encounter and the scars it leaves behind on them.
All the people featured in the photographs are victims of stalking.
Stalking is the act of harassing and monitoring a person with unwanted and obsessive attention through phone calls, letters, emails, messages, objects or bodily presence. It involves intimidation and direct or indirect communication of a threat causing the victim to fear for their safety and the safety of others.
As an intrusive and repetitive act, stalking violates the victim’s physical and mental space hence distorting their perception of the self and it’s presence in a space. This gives rise to countless emotional and mental walls that may never go down such as- intense trauma; denial; identity conflicts; discomfort and fear of unfamiliar physical and emotional spaces; a misplaced sense of shame in the self; de-sexualisation of the body; and predator-prey associations.
Through the process of talking to the survivors and making these images, the artists attempts to create a space for the victims to accept themselves and their bodies and take a step towards moving on from their haunted past. Capturing this cathartic process, she attempts to share with the viewers the very real issue of stalking.
Q&A with Aishwarya Arumbakkam
Photography and writing…
They are two mediums constantly influencing and imbibing off each other. What excites me is the play between them. The capacity each one has to re-interpret or re-iterate the other is a never-ending game.
Who left the biggest impression on you?
Story telling traditions.
Tell us a little about yourself
Born in Chennai, I studied Film & Video Communication at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad with an exchange semester at École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, Paris. I now live in Mumbai.
My artistic practice uses the medium of film, photography and performance to create personalized mythologies that puncture established social narratives and counter it with subversive narratives that allow alternate memories and fantasies for the practitioner, participant and recipient.
Aishwarya Arumbakkam (http://aishwaryaarumbakkam.com) My artistic practice uses the medium of film, photography and performance to create personalized mythologies that puncture established social narratives and counter it with subversive narratives that sustain the voice of individuality and plurality in a highly homogenized society.
These subversive narratives strive to create alternate memories and fantasies for the practitioner, participant and recipient.