Single channel video, 10 min, colour, sound, 2000
Excerpts from long distance telephone conversations between my mother and myself, forms the fabric of this video. The image of the horizon on the screen seems deceptively static. There is a sense of longing and desire for the familiar, punctuated by missed connections and random silences.
The horizon – the visible line of the in-between; between the two, of time to come and time elapsed.
Daniel Palmer, Public Programs Co-ordinator at the Center for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, talks about Tejal Shah’s installation exhibition ‘in-transit’ (2000) -
For me it’s a very intimate exhibition & two things particularly strike me when I am in the space. One is about connection, we’re all connected as the current Sony TV advertisement informs us, but unevenly. We live simultaneously but not synchronously. Not everyone occupies the same now. To me this is an exhibition about the non-synchronous. Forget global image scapes & the pace at which information flows. It’s worth remembering that only 10% of the world’s population has access to a private telephone. In our not yet post-colonial world, mobile phone marketers are already talking about cell space & the global intimate zones of private wireless communication. Motorola talked about personal area networks but for the moment we are not yet beyond geography.
The history of colonialism is of course the history of the west’s silencing of the other & other times. If the migrant is the exemplary figure of modernity, the figure in in-transit is perhaps that of the new century. A turbulence of migration continues & the space of the nation is increasingly fractured from within. We can no longer be thought of as culturally homogenous and this leads me to home. Home in Tejal’s exhibition is clearly more than a physical structure. It designates a sense of cultural belonging and existential shelter. Today for many people the most stable home is an e-mail server located at a place or site called hotmail. Something about new technologies of communication and travel obviously has a profound effect on family relationships and a sense of home. In Tejal’s exhibition in-transit the recorded telephone messages between Tejal and her mother in India, are a wonderful metaphor for this interconnection of the home and the global. in-transit is disorientating and contemplative, a beautiful installation. It invokes the inexpressible, the social, the familial and the personal. It’s a subtle intervention of sound and images.