From Facebook to gallery, art goes live - Jam session across time zones

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  • Published 1.12.12

Artists from across the world logged on to Facebook to display their work, much of it created live, at a city studio on Thursday.

Skyjam, presented by Studio21, was the brainchild of young contemporary artists Amritah Sen and Manas Acharya. The duo, along with six more artists — Sumitro Basak, Sumona Jana, Nobina Gupta, Madhuja Mukherjee, Saikat Surai and Anirban Ghosh — gathered at the gallery and interacted online with more than 33 creative individuals from across the world. At the end of four hours of hectic jamming, various forms of art — sketches, paintings, photographs, digital images, music videos and even film scripts — were shared both on the social networking site as well as on the gallery wall.

The session started at 2pm and continued till 6pm. “We wanted to involve artists from various time zones. Hence, the jamming spanned four hours. Not all were present throughout. But this event provided a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas as well as make new creative friends,” said Sen.

The participants included artists, photographers, film-makers, admen and even amateurs from various places such as France, the US, Germany, China, Taiwan, Nepal Bangladesh, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and, closer home, Santiniketan. The only criterion was to have a Facebook account.

“Our art community has a group on Facebook called Workshop. We meet online and exchange ideas on various issues. Skyjam was conceived as an extension of Workshop. This event is a type of Facebook art,” Sen said. “Usually visitors come to a gallery to see a finished product. This time they could see the making of art as well as take part in it.”

The artists began with a key word — “nails” — and a drawing of different types of nails by Sen. A projector featured the Facebook page where ideas were being exchanged.

Soon there was a rush of creativity, almost causing a network jam. From a painting of a red tongue with a nail stuck to it (by Moutushi Chakraborty) to a scanned image of a hand with nails (by Acharya), ideas came thick and fast. “I tried my hand at some performance art,” said Acharya, also the curator of Studio21.

Kanishka Dasgupta from Nepal punned on the word nail, posting a photoshopped image of a man biting his nails with the caption “nail biting”. “Some works turned out to be very different from the key word, but then that’s creativity,” said Acharya.

The second theme word was “key” and more creative ideas were posted.

Not all the works were spontaneous creations though. Some dug out art forms from their old stock too but all the time the jammers had great fun. When the network was clogged, one participant posted a picture of Tagore with a note saying “Guru has come, please clear the jam”.

Claiming that the session was the first of its kind in Calcutta, Acharya said he planned to make it a tri-monthly event. “Given its popularity, we are considering organising more such sessions, maybe based on social issues too. Such modern creative exchanges have flexible time frames, so they are sure to attract more artistes.”