crisis care catharsis


The Water Diviner, 2008 Books, water, light, video projection and lightboxes 

Sheba Chhachhi’s immersive installation, The Water Diviner creates an imaginary underwater ambience, which traces the memory of water in Delhi, through an assembly of readymade and invented objects, creating an environment for the viewer to walk in and engage with the artwork. The Water Diviner was originally a site-specific installation implemented at a public library in Old Delhi, which was incidentally a swimming pool once. The objects and images pertaining to the site, trace the transformation of space and time, archival memory and anxieties about a collective future.

Amidst a cascading terrain orchestrated using bundles of discarded books, in the centre, the work draws connections between the fountain as the spring of clean water. It also contains a long glass vitrine showing pictures of Yamuna as the lifeline of Shahjahanabad/Old Delhi, and the animated image of an elephant forming through particles of filth. The work in the exhibition refers to the buried or neglected knowledge, and the sedimentation of cultural memory as the prime cause for human apathy and the ecological catastrophe.