Gods & Robots
India's billion strong population owes its allegiance to 33 million gods so say the scriptures. In the 21st century, these gods have taken on an automative avatar. Automatons, idols of gods automated by motor gears and audio apparatus, are employed by their makers, to entrance devotees. Often they become mouthpieces for socio-political agendas that their makers might endorse and the issues range from Islamic Terrorism to Climate Change.
Gods and Robots, set against this bustling landscape, explores the tenuous grounds on which these Gods are imagined and interpreted by artists, where this imagery comes from and how it has evolved over millennia.
The key question at the heart of Gods and Robots derives from the predicament of a wayward automaton maker. What happens when an artist, Ankush, challenges the conventional imaginings of an entire industry of God-makers? A traditionally imagined Fish avatar of a popular God is turned on its head with the upper part of the idol taking the form of the Fish head instead of the strong masculine torso of the Protector God, Vishnu.
Fellow automaton makers and God‐sculptors question the audacity of re‐inventing the image of God.
But, where did this image come from, to begin with? Isn’t it through millennia of image making that the current idols and images of Gods have evolved? Ankush’s Fish‐Avatar disrupts that narrative.
In an ironic twist, and in evidence of post‐modern installation art, Ankush’s Fish avatar, after being rejected and maligned in the Mumbai automaton community, finds a place in a French Museum -Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. Gods & Robots takes off from this premise, and charts this journey, exploring the evolution of God‐images through the changing socio-religious climate of the city.