While many artists who find their way to Whitehorse are from nearby communities, Hemant Puri is making a special trip from the far reaches of the globe. The Indian artist will take flights, stopovers, connections, and jet lag in stride to make it in time for a 12-hour non-stop performance, “Bollywood Night,” for Whitehorse Nuit Blanche (WNB).
The extremes in space and time he will travel are fitting for his piece, which focuses on connecting people across the globe through technology, entertainment, and art itself.
Using Skype, Puri will create his performance not by himself but in live collaboration with his partner, Mitali Nath, and other participants in their home in New Delhi, India. Puri will wander the streets of downtown Whitehorse for the all-night art festival, interacting with the pedestrian audience to show them clips of Bollywood films juxtaposed with a live-stream of Nath and her own local participants 10,500 km away. “Connected individuals can transcend time and distance,” says Puri. “In a world full of technology and virtual realities, realtime has gained new meanings.” “The live interaction with the pedestrian [in Whitehorse] with the participants in Delhi is novel and grand in terms of a closer and a smaller world,” Nath adds.
Although Nath and Puri have been working as an artistic duo for almost two years, this will be the first time they perform together while in two locations so far apart. This physical and temporal separation adds an element of excitement for the pair. For them, the ability to be brought together with each other and their respective audiences through technology is akin to telepathy. “Two different bodies, in different time zones, at different places, with different people, of different sensibilities,” contemplates Puri. “To be able to read the tenor of the other person’s thoughts through live texting or to be able to touch through distance excites us as much as being oneto-one with someone and reading the other person’s mind.”
The decision to use Bollywood movies as an essential medium for their piece was tied to the power of entertainment to connect individuals and speak to our shared human needs and desires. “No matter in which part of the world [we] may live, [our] need for love, pleasure, and peace remains the same,” says Puri.
Puri and Nath will cross the ocean in real-time to bring their piece simultaneously to two different cities, countries, continents, and cultures. Withstanding distance and time zones, the performance and all the intentional and accidental performers will share their very real moments and connections realizing, through art, a global community.
Whitehorse Nuit Blanche will begin Saturday, June 20 at 7 p.m. and will end on Sunday, June 21 at 7am. Visit WNB online at whitehorsenuitblanche.com and at facebook.com/whitehorsenuitblanche.