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PR “POLAArizing Ray and the Collapse of Space” is speculative research into the distinct image practices of artists from different 1950s worlds: those of the Bengali writer and filmmaker Satyajit Ray and the London artists and architects who produced the exhibition Parallel of Life and Art (POLAA). While Ray’s works were motivated by Bengali cultural values, available technical means and his socio-economic setting, the POLAA collaborators -Nigel Henderson, Eduardo Paolozzi and Alison and Peter Smithson- were interested in the visual parallels between wildly different documentary images. POLAA (1953) was an environmental installation of enlarged and suspended images that exploited the potentials of “visual equivalence”: for example, the adjacency of an aerial photograph of topography produced affinities of texture and pattern with a close-up photograph of a tiger’s skin. In Alex Kitnick’s words, the result is indeterminate scale in which “space collapses.” [1] Ray’s films, on the other hand, generate metaphorical visual equivalences among mundane yet particularly Bengali cultural objects, moments, events and spaces. POLAArizing Ray uses video montage techniques to collapse the spaces and create visual equivalences between artists working contemporaneously in Post-World War Two London and Post-Colonial Bengal for the first time.

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[1] Alex Kitnick, "The Brutalism of Life and Art."  136 (Spring 2011): 69.  [2] See Jacques Rancière, “The Future of the Image,” in The Future of the Image, 1-31, (London: Verso), 2007.