Woven Chronicle

by Reena Saini Kallat

Reena Saini Kallat. “Woven Chronicle.” 2011/2016. Installation view, “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 1, 2016-January 22, 2017. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

The flows and movements of travelers, migrants, and labor across the world have produced major social and economic implications as well as new forms of cultural exchange. It has allowed us not only to free cultural identities from a physical place, but to see us all as entwined in a symbolic web, as it were. The work was conceived with electric wires to form a drawing that will trace migration patterns globally, where multitude of actors interact without knowledge of the overall situation.

While technology and commerce are blurring geographic boundaries, there are inherent contradictions that the electric wires here seem to suggest both as conduit and barrier, serving on the one hand as channels of transmission, while on the other their linear formations evoke barbed wire or different kinds of fencing. By changing the instrument of this quasi-cartographic drawing from a pencil line to a wire, I’m interested in the notion of the map as dynamic, ever changing, streaming and transferring data with the global flows of energies and people, as the courses of these travelers intersect.

The audio component resonates with high-voltage electric current sounds drowned within deep-sea ambient sounds, slow electric pulses, the hum of engaged tones from telecommunications, mechanical-sounding drone, factory sirens, and ship horns intermingled with migratory bird sounds.

Reena Saini Kallat. “Woven Chronicle.” 2011/2016. Installation view, “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 1, 2016-January 22, 2017. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar
Reena Saini Kallat. “Woven Chronicle.” 2011/2016. Installation view, “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 1, 2016-January 22, 2017. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar
Reena Saini Kallat. “Woven Chronicle.” 2011/2016. Installation view, “Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 1, 2016-January 22, 2017. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar