Working with film, video, photography and multimedia installation, Desire Machine Collective (Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya) explore the relations between power, nature and society. Their recent work focuses on the disruption or interruption of ‘organic flows’ of goods, ideas and people across interconnected local and global economies, cultures, and environments. This interest is informed by the artists’ position of in-betweenness, both geographically (as they live and work in Guwahati in eastern India) and from a formal and aesthetic perspective.
At Gasworks, Madhukaillya developed two new projects, working in collaboration with the British Museum. The first project, As1924,1210.8, which refers to an access number in the British Museum archives, focuses on the life of the self-taught English anthropologist, ethnologist and tribal activist Verrier Elwin. Elwin began his career as a Christian missionary in India in the 1920s, but abandoned the clergy to work with Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, eventually converting to Hinduism in 1935. The second work, Two Rivers, explored at the shared history of two rivers – the Brahmaputra in Guwahati, Assam and the Thames in London – focusing on how the legacy of colonialism continues to affect their social and economic use.
Collaborating since 2004, Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya live and work in Guwahati, India. Their work has been featured in group exhibitions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; MAC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon; MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome; Deutsche Guggenheim Museum, Berlin; Indian Pavilion, 2011 Venice Biennale, Venice; the 3rd edition of La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris and, in 2015, at the Queens Museum and Grey Art Gallery at New York University, both in New York City. In 2007 they initiated Periferry, an alternative artist-led space situated on the M. V. Chandardinga, a ferry docked on the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. In 2014, they presented the solo exhibition ‘Noise Life’ at Galerie Max Mueller and Project 88, both in Mumbai.
Desire Machine Collective’s residency is supported by The Charles Wallace India Trust and Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, in partnership with the British Museum, and is hosted in the Sackler Residency Studio.