Lives and works in Minneapolis
Mentor: Jehra Patrick
Meena Mangalvedhekar is a visual artist, projectionist and photographer. She received GD-Art from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya and BFA from University of Minnesota, and has been active in group shows and public art projects in United States and India. She is currently residing in Minneapolis, MN. Her works appear as fusion of tangibles and intangibles in which meanings shift, past and present merge. Time, place and memory always play a key role. Through large installations, digital drawings and placemaking experiments Meena strives to connect community and place. She believes in assisting community organizations utilize these instruments to creatively claim and transform public spaces.
I’m interested in examining and exploring existing nodes of systems around us and within us. I use photography, interviews, drawings, projections and real time activity for my research and to study locations, systems, and get inspired by their human history. Visual experiments through raw play is my muse. Sometimes these sparks form a work of art on their own. Otherwise they become seeds for complexly layered public art projects. Through large installations, digital drawings and placemaking experiments I strive to connect community and place. I believe in helping community organizations utilize these instruments to creatively claim and transform public spaces. As a transplant from India, I struggle to make home and often notice similar struggles among different demographics of Twin Cities. It drove me to create public art projects like Devices for Aerial Investigations (2012), Forward/50 (2013 onwards) and Take The Field (2014 onwards) where passersby can come together to make, relate and participate, and create loops of the process overtime at multiple occasions. Emergence (2017) will be a permanent interactive installation in Minneapolis advancing with my core beliefs for art in public.
From Meena’s Proposal
Technology is changing the way we make our art and experience our surroundings. It’s also challenging our idea of what it means to be human as it optimizes our bodies, expands our minds’ capacity for memory and creativity, and affords total connectivity with each other. However, current artists expression models that focus on socially responsible practices are resulting in stagnant or underachieved impact for the amount of energy and resources they take. I see it happening in online community engagement models as well. Current social networks feeds are reflecting that inability to reach one another in meaningful ways, bringing it to public art realm as an important question. While seeking a clear and sustainable solution, I believe we need to have a different conversation and experiment. To plant any innovative and emancipatory change, we need to bring partnerships and thoughts outside of our own reach. Sounds like that’s how consultants sell ‘outsourcing’ to boardrooms. Sarcasm aside, this is where I find similarities between for profit corporate world that built social networks we are now dependent on and non-profit art world. What if we could separate a few strategic parts, build a few new ones and place it back as a template or a platform in visual culture making?
During AOV, I will invite public to join in the experiment using ‘post-internet’ concepts from outsourcing to design an intercrop system and let it pass through slow intervals and mainly digital technology. Intercropping is agro-economy’s ancient experiment to make best of changing climate resulting in early flowering times in short day crops. Planting strategic crops in between main crops optimizes watering techniques, soil nutrients, field labor and yearly yield through bio-diversity. My project concept inspiration is essentially the parallels between practices and questions of agriculture, visual culture making, and for profit corporations. I also see internet and social media playing the role of a farm and farmers in this project.