[Reader-list] Mobile Videos

Jeebesh jeebesh at sarai.net
Mon Jun 9 13:40:10 IST 2008

Dear All,

Below are the transcripts of a discussion on videos shot by mobile  

The link to the mobile video
Mobile Sketches
Memory Card 01


Extracts from a discussion on Mobile Videos
Cybermohalla Ensemble
June 2008

Suraj Rai:
A mobile phone... It's in our pockets. We just take it with us to the  
take it with us to the play, take it with us when
going from one place to the other, carry it with us on the way.

Kiran Verma:
Often, while looking out of the window of a bus, I used to wonder...
if I were to pause and think, what would I think about the outside?
I made a mobile video of the view from the window of the bus.
And then when I saw it later, I realised,
while music played and people chatted, and there was a restlessness in  
the bus,
people on the road were very quiet and completely solitary.

Jaanu Nagar
Just day before yesterday, in the evening, it was raining heavily.
It is said a downpour can ruin many things. But when I stood and  
it seemed to me everything was becoming more resplendent.
I found this attractive. Everything looked so different from usual.
Descriptions of rain are usually about how people run for shelter,  
leave what they are doing,
But what I was seeing was something different. I thought a photo may  
not capture this difference.
I wanted to see if I could make a video resonate with what I was  
I looked through the screen and started recording.
Someone held an umbrella, another had covered himself with a plastic  
Someone was returning from work, a scarf thrown over his head.
People were not running around. Some were buying vegetables for home.
And there was a chowmein stall -
It was open to the sky.
The man was busy frying chowmien in the pan. I thought a photograph
would not have helped me capture this style, the special music...
Along with the raindrops was the sound "chhan-chhan-chhan", as the  
moved in the pan, while everyone stood around under their umbrellas,  
waiting to eat.

Tripan Kumar -
That day my parents, my sisters and cousins - they all started dancing  
together, spontaneously.
I had never seen them like this before. I mean, it wasn't any special  
We just happened to be in a room together, and everyone started  
dancing. The young and
the old, all danced together. For no special reason. I'd never seen  
such a burst
of joy, expressed in this way, inside a room, before. I was surprised.
And I wanted to keep with myself this memory of having been surprised.

Nasreen -
It could be something banal. But was I attracted by it? If it  
attracted me, then it was
significant enough to be shot. It's possible it remained banal for  
someone else.
But if it seemed important to me, then, yes, it was something worthy  
of being looked at.

Love Anand -
For instance, I'd often look out of my window at the shadows cast by  
clothes put out to dry.
These shadows would hover over the entire lane, and create a very  
special ambience.
Shadows would glide over people's faces, knock against things.
I'd always try to search a language to think, to describe this  
environment of shadows.

Babli Rai -
To make a mobile video, one doesn't need to go out in search of a  
event or occasion. Mobile videos draw from the simplest moments of our  
In that sense, the mobile phone camera makes one look for the special  
within the ordinary.
A woman may wear make-up everyday. But to make a mobile video of this  
simple thing,
makes her, her make-up and the ordinariness of that moment, special.

Lakhmi Chand -
One immediately thinks of a mobile video as being something personal.
But mobile phone conversations, sms, photos, videos, ring tone etc
have a velocity in everyday life - they get their life from being in  
That is why, even though mobile phones have very small screens,
the staggered circulation of its images stretches their lived beyond  
the first moment
in which they were taken.

Love Anand - In the two years that we have been making mobile videos,  
it seems to me that
all of us have deepened out ways of looking through the act of looking  
around us, everyday.
In writing, we think about what we have seen and how to write it.
But in making mobile videos, the view before us unravels itself frame  
by frame.
There is a relation between the practice of writing and the practice  
of making mobile videos.
One requires inner stillness, and the other requires us to still our  
I think with a mobile video, we try to find a stillness amidst the  
speed around us.
We try to find a moment of stillness in the world.

Yashoda Singh
And in writing?

Love Anand -
In writing... In writing it is as if we are inhabiting a stillness and  
trying to write it.
By making a mobile video, we still that which is speeding, so we may  
think from within it.

Yashoda Singh -
So a mobile video makes us go deeper
into something than writing does...?

Love Anand -
No, I'm not saying that.
I can try to understand that which I can see
by revisiting it in my mind's eye.
But what about that which elides me?
A mobile video can help me bring it into my view. So I can be with it.

Yashoda Singh -
Is it that we see something and immediately know it is interesting,
we should make a mobile video of it?

Love Anand -
No... The question for me is, how do we perceive
something that races past us?
What can we do to bring it into our field of vision?
How can I hold it, even for a moment,
while it rushes past me,
so I may enter it to think with it?

Lakhmi Chand -
Mobile phone videos are embedded in networks.
This opens up a big playing field.
The shrinking and expanding images around us
become a player here.
As do those minor moments which would not even have
been thought of as occasions before.

Jaanu Nagar -
The world is foggy.
When you capture a grain from it,
as you may sometimes do with a mobile video,
it helps you understand
the expanse and the detail.

Tripan Kumar - I may have made an image of something
that I don't recognise.
This image may allow others
to address those images which remain unnamed in their lives.

Azra Tabassum -
A frame is like a hook that gathers that
which lies scattered around us.
And I join a few of my own hooks
to think ahead with the frame.
Probably the attempt is that what lies scattered in my life
is brought to speech through the movement within the frames.
Or maybe I depict the dilations of my eyes and in this
I connect the various scattered flickers that are around me.

Rakesh Khairalia - In the depiction of things around us, we sometimes  
see them still,
sometimes in movement, and sometimes in turmoil.
So this is a way to try to understand how to look.
And when this is deepened, we create generative environments.
 From where does this generative form come
into our thinking? This is a question.
What is in our imagination that searches the generative
both in stillness and in change?
Whose mind is this? Where did it come from?
Where is it about to go?
It is the turmoil of these questions
that shapes the way we construct a frame.
They are an occasion to think, to rethink what we have
thought before, and to plough further.
Where can it take us?
How deeply are we connected to it?
This life, things around us, changes around us,
the time in which we live - how are we related to all this?
This is how we think with mobile videos.


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