2023_Jahnavii Nirmal _virtual_Aabhala_
2023_Jahnavii Nirmal_Virtual_September_Aabhala_Image_4
2023_Jahnavii Nirmal _virtual_lotus_motif

Hi, it’s Jhahnaa! Welcome to my virtual open studios at GlogauAIR. I am a new media artist & musician currently based in Mumbai, India. My practice is a profound exploration of nature, transcendence and culture intricately woven into interactive installations, digital art, painting and performances. 

Recently, in search of the self, I found myself wrapped in the comfort of old Aabhala embroideries of my native land, Gujarat, India. For my time at the residency, I worked on ‘Aabhala’, an interactive screen projection for cultural exchange. The project is a journey towards discovering the fragments of my identity through the subconscious. The memories held by our minds by what we perceive in this life + our previous lives + lives of our ancestors can give us potential clues and strength to unravel ourselves. When speech no longer sufficed, turning towards a visual release helped me build a code language for myself.

Above: Motifs from ‘Aabhala’

The word 'Aabhala' means 'Mirror' in Gujarati. Mirrors were embroidered on clothing as a belief to ward off evil. The project consists of motifs drawn as an emotional release from the subconscious that contains memory of the embroidery from my mother's sarees, pillow covers, and many other knick-knacks, all of them having one common element - the mirror, denoted as a circle. Using reflection as a mirror's purpose, the work mirrors the body through an interactive screen projection.

The work further questions - What makes humans, humans? What makes us who we are? It takes inspiration from the framework of neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux who delves into this topic in his book ‘The four realms of existence, A new theory of being human’. The set contains 40 motifs with 4 different coloured backgrounds. Each color denotes a different realm of existence. Amaranth = The bodily, Peach = The neural, Yellow = The cognitive, Green = The conscious.

The Complete Motif Set:

The motifs were digitized in adobe illustrator and brought to life through TouchDesigner. The GPU Particle System was used to bring the motifs together for interaction. The depth sensor from the camera detected the body’s motion.

Thank you for visiting my studio! 


For previous works, please visit my website: https://jahnavinirmal.com/ OR connect with me via email at jahnaviinirmal@gmail.com . Looking forward to chatting with you along the intersections of art, culture & technology :)