Mock-up of Virtual Segments 3D web gallery. RTO aims to launch an interactive Web 3D experience as early as January 2021. Photo courtesy: Anubhav Syal / RTO
NOW ON was conceived as a call that welcomed ideas, thoughts and experiments that responded to the current crisis and its impact on the work of promoting arts and international arts exchange. Of the 100+ applications received, eight received the Now On grant. The Now On series of interviews presents the recipients of the Now On grant and their projects.
In this interview, we speak with Anubhav Syal of Round them Oranges about Virtual Segments for which they received the Now On grant.
About Anubhav Syal
Anubhav Syal is a second-generation Kashmiri migrant, a practicing conceptual artist from Jaipur, India. His works are rooted in concepts of personal history and politics. He has worked as a filmmaker and photographer since 2008, slipping into the realm of conceptual art. His works have been exhibited in festivals such as Photo Ireland, National Film Awards, India, 2016, TIRAF 2017, HDFC x Home Grown – The Memory Project 2018, Art Book Depot 2020.
1. Tell us about Round Them Oranges.
Round them Oranges (RTO) is an art space dedicated to narratives of human expression. A gallery dedicated to manual and digital forms that speak of our times. RTO houses an art book library, gallery and lab that is based out of Jaipur and is now also online. Round them Oranges aims to bring forward contemporary forms of modern India and the world by curating exhibits and events in collaboration with artists that indulge with various techniques, such as sculpture, performance, photography and interactive art.
2. What is the project Virtual Segments about?
Virtual Segments by Round Them Oranges is a digital and a curatorial exploration during this pandemic. The creation of a digital web gallery aims to keep people’s engagement with art alive during this lockdown. We’ve all been brought down by just one virus. As the world struggles to go back to work, take care of their mental health, and find a new normal – this exhibition was my way of hoping the relevance of art doesn’t get forgotten in this process.
3. What inspired you to apply to the Now On grant?
With the Now On call, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia put out a search for ideas that could be applied in response to the crisis that the pandemic brought about, a stagnant world in search of movement within stillness. It seemed apt to share the concept RTO had been developing with existing technology. Now On seemed to be an opportunity to take this exploration a step ahead and design the experience in more detail with the support.
4. How does the project Virtual Segments promote artistic work despite the pandemic?
Expression is one of the most vulnerable human rights even in the age of technology and connectedness, even more so for artists who dedicate their lives to showcase their thoughts and ideas that are triggered by happenings of our social circumstances. More often than not, all artworks are subject to interpretation, questioning and scrutiny. In a world that seems to be in crisis constantly, it’s important to have spaces that are accessible to the viewer at all times and facilitate expression. Our intention is to showcase works that shine light on some of the burning spots of our mind and even dive into the darkness of places known and unknown. A productive space of reflection and contemplation that uses all mediums of art to establish fresh ways in which artists look at some of these chaotic subjects of our lives like Migration, Identity, Sexuality, Memory, Environment, Marginalisation for the viewer, as they participate and experience the art, of which they are in part creators themselves.
5. What can we expect to see in the near future with Virtual Segments?
RTO aims to launch an interactive Web 3D experience as early as January 2021, with curatorial works that bring artistic expression to every individual’s personal device.
Follow Anubhav’s project on Instagram at @RoundThemOranges