Photo courtesy Purvi Joshi.

Poetics of Garbage: Plastic Prāyaścitta

Plastic Prāyaścitta is a single screen film shot in the streets and hinterlands of Delhi. The process of making the film reflexively generated a commentary on the shared relationship between humans and garbage. By reclaiming trash from the ‘realm of the useless’, it is redesignated with value and transformed into cultural icons through ritualistic performance.

“The performance on screen is similar to a ritualistic act of pilgrimage, a journey often into the unknown, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning. We imagine this sense of altered meaning being achieved through the actions of the body and its interplay between waste material and predictive technology.”

Extracted from the BeFantastic blog post—
Poetics of Garbage: Harnessing The Potential of Waste︎︎︎

This is a collaborative project made by Aashna Arora (performance & costume), Bruce Gilchrist (concept, video edit & text generation), Chaitali Kulkarni (software programming) and Thaniya Kanaka Mahalakshmi (narration & language translation) as part of a BeFantastic Beyond Fellowship 2022-23 (India), co-produced by BeFantastic (In), FutureEverything (UK), and supported by the British Council.

Music by Traitor.
Cameras: Purvi Joshi / Rahul Naag / Jonathan Peters.  
Additional language translation: Malvika Jha / Champa Lakshmi.

Poetics of Garbage

Poetics of Garbage is the principle idea behind Plastic Prāyaścitta. The manipulation of waste material is translated via computer vision, object recognition software and a language model into a poetic narrative. As part of the FutureFantastic exhibition, we created a live-camera installation to demonstrate this underlying principle, where the displayed costume was subject to the same object recognition algorithm, but used a different language model—an RNN text generator that was trained on the text corpus that was originally generated for Plastic Prāyaścitta. In effect, the live-camera installation performed an algorithmic remix of the Plastic Prāyaścitta narrative.

Photography by Bruce Gilchrist︎︎︎

The artworks showcased at
India’s first AI + Art festival at
Bangalore International Centre, 03-2023.

Initial concepting images (2022)︎︎︎
generated in Midjourney from a text prompt and subjected to an object recognition algorithm.

Selected projects & collaborations by Bruce Gilchrist © 2023