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Lacuna by Nina Mangalanayagam

Lacuna by Nina Mangalanayagam


Movements and gestures help us to connect and communicate with people around us, but the same gestures also divide people. Our movements often become the unexplainable difference between people from different worlds, be countries or class. Our body language can act as a barrier in between people and create misunderstandings and hostilities.

The video displays a performance by the artist attempting to do the Indian Head Nod, which is used heavily in South Asia for yes, no or maybe as well as in Indian dance. Members from one part of the artist’s family use the movement, but she is unable to imitate it. She cannot do the movement properly and the piece is about the struggle of trying to fit in, to adapt to someone else’s behaviour and the frustration of learning how. The piece comments on the failure of language, including body language.

Her attempt lasts for ten minutes, where the viewer can witness an increasing frustration in my movements, since she repeatedly fails to do it right. The piece is silent but with subtitles exposing personal fragments from the artist’s own experience: meetings with her Tamil family, personal stories on the relationship she had as a child to her father’s background and to her own otherness in Swedish society.

artwork info

HD Video / 11:00 min / 2009

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