Anjali Deshmukh
Painting
Digital
Writing
Statement and Info
 
 
 
Metaterraforming

If we're unhindered by delineations of scale, there is an infinity of places on earth that we've been. In all these places, the balances between the Elements of earth/materiality, air/wind, heat/fire, and water change across the smallest distances of space (and time). A place can also be defined by these qualities or physical essences, (among infinite others), not only by the geographic or geospatial boundaries we assign to it. This is an existential vs. cultural tension; we create and interpret our place in reality, and in our globalized world— collapsed and molded by technology, immigration, money, etc. - we all carry the freedom and burden of re-defining place and our sense of identity in distinct, fractured ways...

When we start playing with the boundaries of scale and time (in art, at least), it’s hard not to think of Lila, or cosmic play. Among interpretations, one is the divine game, the universal process of creating and destroying that shapes reality. Arguably a clash between chance and artistry.

On one path of these threads of thinking, imagine a game of environmental invention, based on the idea of terraforming—a process of creating an Earth-like environment in “hostile” environments like Mars: conceptually, a beautiful attempt at bridging the cultural/existential divide; and practically, a product of science, hubris, and the instinct for survival.

But what does Earth-like really mean, given all our/its sublime imperfections- man-made and natural… Are we looking to re-create earth or do we conceptualize earth as something more ideal or utopian than itself?

If metaterraforming is the imagining of utopia in a version of itself, imagine you are playing a game. You are standing across from an opponent on the other side of a huge gameboard, where the Elements of earth, wind, water, and heat are a design of nature—an ideal of symmetry woven into a web that blankets landscape, a re-design of geographic boundaries. You and your opponent are given glass game pieces, and the aim is to throw your shards of glass, using the Elements (micro-manifested on the board) to create a perfect circle that must land in the center of the board. Your glass is a tool and an extension of your artifice. Do you believe in utopia?

The Out of Bounds game board is a generator that has a narrative within and outside the boundaries of its fiction: internally, within the logic of the game, it is a theoretical roulette wheel of both fictional and real landscapes, combinations of elements that strive for perfection but can’t escape from the laws of randomness. Outside the game is the Story of the game, another level of fiction; a history of its players and all the people and things that constellate around its making and playing. Each of these perspectives can lead down a different path of narrative. Outside the logic of the fiction, it’s a painting generator, because the purpose of the fiction is image creation. I can take any perspective to re-interpret the game and its manifestations. I might also create those theoretical landscapes and retro-imagine (post-rationalize) the path that landscape must have taken to form along the lines of the board. I can follow all the threads of the game’s history, the inside boundaries of its story, or the self-conscious awareness of its fiction.