• Encounters of the Remote Kind

    In 2013, I undertook a small expedition, to try to see the Maunsell Seaforts, which dot the coast of the UK. These huge metallic structures, relics of the Second World War, were operated as army and navy forts, and named after their designer, Guy Maunsell. The forts were decommissioned in the late 1950s and later used for other activities including pirate radio broadcasting.

    Shivering Sands, Encounters of a Remote Kind and Field Notes are works that have emerged out of my engagement with the site. The three works are linked, not only by content but also by time. We are presented with an assortment of artifacts, which are both archaeological record and engineered fiction.



  • Shivering Sands

    The Approach_1

    “And yet all these years later, what tends to be remembered is the frame, the strange beauty of the rusting
    structure, the abandoned nodes, and the hollow spaces that remain when content and context has long since
    been abandoned.”                                    

    Islands of the Mind, August 24, 2011, Things Magazine
    This film is a journey of discovery, across the ocean to the wonderful and bizarre site that is Shivering Sands, a strange forgotten abandoned outpost. What are these strange dystopic tripod-like structures? What were they meant to be? What could we imagine them to be? Is this the past? Or the uncertain future of a tenuous present?

    The film has two simultaneous narratives; the first, the vastness of the ocean and horizon, the approach, sighting, circling and last view of Shivering Sands. These huge metallic structures, relics of the Second World War off the coast of the UK, transformed into creatures straight out of HG Well’s novels, or perhaps the All Terrain Attack Transports from Star Wars.
    The second, a contrapuntal narrative of an annotated and edited text (written by Laura Raicovich), that guides us through physics, symmetry, pattern, cosmology and poetry, resonating strangely and perfectly with the geography and phenomenology of the site.

  • Atmospheres

    The sky is ambiguous. It represents a blank canvas and surface on which individual desires, thoughts and feelings can be mapped and projected. Both cosmology and fiction share a quest for pattern and meaning. In both cases we could also say that it is the viewer/reader who as an active agent completes its meaning through interpretation.

    Atmospheres offers an alternate perspective on the iconic photograph of the ‘blue planet’ as seen from space which, at the end of the 1960s, replaced the mushroom cloud, as the global icon of the post-war period and the Cold War. The view of Earth from outer space was an event of historical importance. It transformed our consciousness and made us think about the earth’s ecosystem as a single planetary unit. Our present as well, as shown by the climate debate and the concept of the Anthropocene, is shaped by the notion of ‘one planet.’
    In the work, we see the Earth from our perspective on the ground. The sky becomes a mirror. With the camera lens pointed at the zenith we see shifting frames of sky and cloud, criss-crossed by thin black lines, the beautiful and strange decametre wave radio telescope at the Gauribidanur Observatory near Bangalore in India.

    Atmospheres and Terrasphere (Amit Mehra) (3)

    Atmopsheres, Installation view at Vis-a-Vis Experience Center, image credit Amit Mehra, 2016



    With special thanks to Gauribidanur Radio Observatory operated jointly by Raman Research Institute and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. The observatory has been in operation since 1976.


    “For the apparent realism of SF (science fiction) has concealed another, far more complex temporal structure: not to give us “images” of the future – but rather to de-familiarize and restructure our experience of our own present..” – Fredric Jameson

    “Like archaeologists of the future, we must piece together what will have been thought.” – Timothy Morton

    The title of this body of work draws inspiration from the seminal text by Fredric Jameson, which examines the functions of utopian thinking by exploring the relationship between utopia and science fiction. I have taken Jameson’s title and uses it instead to myself as an archaeologist of new fictions and futures.

    Archaeologies of the Future: Chaos and Coincidence is a series of experiments and observations, constructed by observing, recording, fictionalizing, and imagining objects and spaces that exist at the interface between remote past and possible future, utopia and dystopia, the human and non-human.

    Comprising video, photographs and drawing, the work is a collection of new terrains, where skies, nomadic observation sites, telescopes and cyanometers, mix familiarity with strangeness, suggesting a new way of imagining the interconnectedness of things.

    Their only unifying characteristic – the uncanny and the remote.


    Shivering Sands (video stills) Rohini Devasher 2016 (4)
    SHIVERING SANDS| single channel video | 2016
    Entry 1, from the Series 'Field Notes' | photograph on archival paper |17 x 12 inches | 2016
    ENCOUNTERS OF A REMOTE KIND & FIELD NOTES | photographs and drawings on archival paper | 2016
    Atmospheres - Rohini Devasher 2015 (1)
    ATMOSPHERES| single channel video | 2015


    HelioBlue - rohini devasher
    HELIOBLUE | single channel video | 2015


    TERRASPHERE | video and prints | 2015


    rohini_layout1 FINAL 2
    ALWAYS TAKE THE WEATHER WITH YOU | set of 12 prints| etching and aquatint | 2014


    mimic - etching - rohini devasher - 2014
    MIMIC & MIRROR | etchings | 2014


    8. Contact, Photographs printed on Hahnemuhle fine art Baryta paper mounted on
    CONTACT | Photographs | 2013



  • Always take the weather with you


    rohini_layout1 FINAL 2

    Four years ago I began to interview amateur astronomers in New Delhi, collecting stories, conversations and histories of people whose lives had been transformed by the night sky. I was interested in several things; what drew them to the night sky? what set them apart? how did it transform experience? The project has since developed into an exploration of ‘strange’ terrains where myth and fiction blur the boundaries of what is real and imagined.

    As part of the process I have travelled to various astronomical observatories across India. Under the Below Another Sky Project I was also able to visit The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory which occupies a fantastic hilltop spot on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park near Dalmellington, under some of the darkest skies in the UK.  Each of these sites has been extraordinary, but I have not yet been able to experience them in the ‘best’ conditions, i.e. under clear dark skies, because each time I undertake such an expedition, the clouds quite literally, seem to follow me.

    I began thinking about anticipation and expectation, prophecy and prediction, the waiting, that is so central to amateur astronomy. How ‘clear skies’ is the benediction every amateur gives the other and clouds become the unfortunate and unnecessary evil, to be avoided at all costs.
    Yet clouds began to fascinate me as much as the night sky and I am not alone.  The international Cloud Appreciation Society, whose members painstakingly select locales to enjoy cloud-spotting, are committed to ‘fighting the banality of ‘blue-sky thinking’. Through the footage and images I have collected since this project began, the constant is the cloud. In all its possible glorious variations and formations, from the iridescent Nacreous or mother of pearl, the rippling Cirrocumulus stratiformis and undulatus to the tufted Altocumulus floccus.

    always take the weather with you is a meditation on this polarity of clouds. Clouds that were photographed over astronomical observatories.

    Collaborating closely with the Glasgow Print Studio’s Etching Master, Ian MacNicol, apprentice Alastair Gow, and Murray Robertson in the digital suite, this set of 12 photo-etchings though compositionally quite simple proved to be technically complex. An exhaustive series of tests and experiments were done to arrive at the right dot, dpi, exposure and etch timings so the subtleties of the clouds could be retained. Each of the 12 images after being digitally corrected for contrast etc were printed  onto acetate and then exposed onto prepared steel plates coated with a light sensitive emulsion. Once developed, they were coated with aquatint and etched. Each plate was then printed individually by hand.


  • HelioBlue

    Helio Blue is both a colour and the sum of its parts. Helio, the Sun or in this case the radio-heliograph that captures two-dimensional images of the solar corona at different frequencies, against Blue, the sky as it gradually shifts from white to black through 52 shades of blue; a re-imagining of the Cyanometer an 18th century instrument for measuring the ‘blueness’, specifically the colour intensity of blue sky.

    HelioBlue (excerpt) | 21 mins | 2015


    HelioBlue (1)HelioBlue |still frame |21 mins | 2015


    HelioBlue (2)


    HelioBlue (4)


    HelioBlue (6)

    With special thanks to The Gauribidanur Radio Observatory operated jointly by Raman Research Institute and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. The observatory has been in operation since 1976.

  • Terrasphere

    Terrasphere builds on the idea of terrariums, a form of miniature ecosystem for plants usually contained within glass containers. The work embraces concepts of biospheres and self-sustaining ecosystems evoking qualities of fragility and buoyancy. Constructed of 59 still images, this strange planet like body gradually shifts through dark and light, with each shift causing a change in various levels of moisture and the potential for growth.

    Conveying duality, Terrasphere also references an apparatus describing the movement of the Earth on its axis and around the Sun resulting in the seasons and day and night. Also called the Tellurion, (after the Latin tellus, the earth) the three-dimensional model is used to demonstrate the movements of the earth and the moon. On a lever arm, those celestial bodies turn around a source of light, which is supposed to represent the sun.

    Terrasphere was produced during the Undivided Mind – Part I: a KHOJ Art and Science residency  in collaboration with the City as a Spaceship Collective (CAAS) at the KHOJ Studios, New Delhi (February 2015).


     Terrasphere | installation view | KHOJ Studios, New Delhi | 2015



    Terrasphere | installation view