Rollins Cornell Fine Arts Museum is surrounded by Western masterpieces on loan. Taking a seat against these masturbating religious pose is The New Narrative, starved for a response. In their first collaboration — Vidhu Aggarwal’s* brilliant crafting of Hump (noun/adjective) from her futurist poetry book The Trouble with Humpadori and Bishakh Som’s** mastermind comix — the two attack the approachability of American art.
Enthralled, anxious and oozing from the veracity, the audience witnesses parasitical machines, non-binary humanoids that fuse with spoken word noise collages, and obscene popism. It’s a mutant of the hybrid text and image. This mixture of comix and poetry is not a new concept. The challenge presented to the narrative by Aggarwal and Som is.
Robbing mythology at birth, this ferocious performance inject the shameless multi-dimensionality of their work into the audience. Aggarwal & Som’s perverse undertones comment on Bollywood symbolism, post-colonial allegories and our personal entanglement with space and time. Their charismatic persistence against the canonical separates the tradition between performer and observer/professor and student. Abstract film is played over a projector; the audience memorized. Aggarwal echoes her voice in real time, again disputing the separation from signifier to signified. Theatrical, the playback gestures from Aggarwal and Som provoke the audience to hinge onto their every word. A monotone choir recites behind Aggarwal’s slivering liquid tongue:
“Little universes, at the smallest possibly surface area and skin, damaged void trickle in.”
Aggarwal and Som’s text buddle visions allow for the body to divorce time and salivate from the glory of this neo-canonical performance. Never today, always next, the mantra set by the gorgeous grotesque. Her exemplary blends of images and text triggers eye dilating refinement that shifted the collective audience hive mind; This it was group learning.
I too, have learned Hump.
*Vidhu Aggarwal is the founding editor of SPECS, a hybrid poet, and the author of The Trouble with Humpadori.
**Bishakh Som is Général of The Quantum Now. She’s a talented illustrator who’s been featured in Hi-Horse, Boston Review, Graphic Canon, and SPECS. She disrupts the traditional narrative of gender, sexuality, memory and urbanism.
Overture of The Vanguard: Vidhu Aggarwal & Bishakh Som evoke a response from The Approachable by Andres Andrade