Photographer Rema Chaudhary's latest exhibition and photobook Alone, Together is a visual narrative by the artist of her experience when the world went into a complete lockdown. As a self-proclaimed recluse, the artist expresses her craving for human connection during this time which compelled her to connect with her ex and eventually transformed into a series of 300 screenshots based on their day-to-day lives in isolation.
Rema held her first solo show at Method Kala Ghoda in October 2019 titledThe Lightness of Being. Her second show Alone, Together is currently on at Method Bandra, in which she has taped up more than 300 screenshots from something many of us would have thought about entertaining during the lockdown: rekindled interactions between exes.
"I've always considered myself somewhat of a recluse, but the lockdown left even the incorrigible hermits like me craving the social interactions I claimed to have evolved beyond. It was exciting to have all that free time for the first few months but fighting that covid ennui isn’t easy when you’ve tried every listicle online.
In times like these, our minds rush to memories of comfort and familiarity - and so, I decided to reconnect with an ex. Typical, I know, but the rules for reaching out to an ex were suspended in these extraordinary times. Our daily calls offered a welcome dose of sanity in a strange new reality. At first, we’d simply check in on each other daily, but there’s only so far a conversation can go when you’re reviewing the events of today that went a lot like yesterday. Eventually, our calls evolved into more watching and less talking. With the glut of screen time, we had become protagonists of our own reality tv show. Some might think of it as excessive, but being watched through a screen is better than having no witness at all.
What did we learn from this unplanned social experiment? The day-to-day might not be particularly glamorous, but there’s something delicate and graceful about the way we move through our mundane routines and who we welcome into them. These household rituals might be considered dull by most but everyday life has always had a fascinating allure for creative pursuits. Having said that, taking a screenshot is not a creative act; it's usually us just telling ourselves, “Remember this.” Unaware of the fact that we were building an archive, we continued this practice for months. Hundreds of screenshots later my mind can't help but create narratives. With this arrangement, I take you through a typical day in our virtual support system. This book is not a product of salacious voyeurism, but an ode to people finding solace in each other's company and wanting to be seen.
Not all things are made with a big bang. Some bonds form over lulls, on a quiet Tuesday, in the middle of an apocalypse."
Glimpses of the exhibition + book below: