Between January 14th and March 10th, 2013 approximately 70-100 million people were expected to attend the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India. Hindu pilgrims from all over the world attended to bathe at the convergence of three sacred rivers: the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the Saraswati. This gathering is one of the largest human gatherings on the planet. I spent five weeks in India developing a new project around this context called Source. I used the concept of ‘source’ as an investigative lens into Indian culture, the Kumbh Mela, and my process of travel and art making.
The idea of ‘source’ also extends to the relationship between Sadhu ascetic practices and live-art (performance art) practices. There are many correlations between the two communities: how they travel, their separation from normative social society, and the rites they enact through their art and religion. The mind-body investigation through physical acts, which illustrate the spiritual power of the sadhus, is also a critical investigation for artists who use their bodies and actions as their medium. I explored some of the parallels between these two communities through my process of artistic research and practice.
I started at the Maha Kumbh Mela and resided on site for eight days. After attending the festival I traveled by bus, car, motorcycle, and foot along the route of the Ganges from the site of the Mela towards its glacial source in the Himalayas. Throughout this five week period I engaged with the culture, photographed, wrote, and created new work that responded to both the discrete sites and the route traveled.