Bedtime Stories is a collaboration with my mother that expands on the notion of the childhood tradition and considers the longterm transfer of knowledge from mother to son. Taking the form of a audio/visual encyclopedia, the project addresses a variety of historical topics that my mother is passionate about, many of which she began researching during her PH.D at the School of Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of London. Our discussion topics to date include The Mughal Empire, The Parsi People, The Mahabharata, The Quit India Movement and The Partition of India, and Jhansi Ki Rani.
My mother and I discuss these topics during recorded phone conversations. The resulting dialogues are edited into lectures and paired with rapid-fire slideshows sourced from google image results. Hundreds of keywords pulled from the lecture are visualized, providing a collective counterpoint to the intimacy of my mother’s pedagogy.
As the viewer listens to my mother’s lecture, the slideshows that appear directly relate to the words she is saying, adding an overwhelming amount of ‘related’ imagery to supplement her vocal content. This juxtaposition highlights two vastly divergent learning strategies, one more traditional and lecture based, the other related more to the kind of hyper-fast learning utilized by the characters in “The Matrix”, and suggestive of current superficial research methods that simply draw on wikipedia.