Dahl, Baht, Roti, Shak (2008)


Dahl, Baht, Roti, Shak is a photography installation with sound which draws upon the video documentation of over 20 family meals, filmed within the artist’s grandparent’s flat in London during the last five years of their lives. Using a combination of long-exposure and motion photography digital prints were derived from the projections of those family meals. Each meal has been compressed into its own singular image and together they turn our attention to the dining room itself, in a way that evokes a stage set, a microcosm of the wider world, containing the remnants of domestic dramas and private traumas. The sound component strings together a time-warping narrative, composed of audio segments which have been extracted from the original conversations from around the dining table and collaged en masse, allowing the audio soundtrack to move along as if one complete conversation. The artist’s grandparents were born in India and moved to London in 1947; his parents were educated in Britain and moved to the US when he was very young. Unsurprisingly, talk sometimes turns to issues related to cultural displacement. But at heart, the work addresses familial hierarchies, emotional availability, memory, and aging.