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किन्नर's prakṛtiḥ, nṛtya, laya (2022 onwards)

In this pre-colonial feminist virtual world, Kinnari transforms into her name-sake, a mythologic feathered trans-human being, a warrioress defender of humanity. 

Dance is the ultimate expression of what nature contains. It predates history in its origin and yet it is a succinct reminder of what a civilisation has achieved in the particular direction that it has taken A single pose from a dance tells you of the notions of equilibrium in a culture: the body’s points of rest are in implicit conjunction with what the universe must constitute for it. 


Upon two basic poses and two basic movements, one can build up whole cybernetics that reveal the nervous system’s encoded signs of nature, freeing the body at once from pre-determined governance, to work with or against gravity, discovering new sources of speech.

- Kumar Shahani

Kinnari, and their male counterparts, Kinnara are half-bird-half-human beings, believed to live in the mythical realm of beyond the Himavanta forest (Himalayas), which is inaccessible for humans however they have the ability to enter the human realm. The Kinnaris are celestial musicians and dancers, who with their soft folk dance movements can halt or tremble the human realm - as mentioned in ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts.  


She breathes in a virtual world set in Himavanta and surrounded by turmeric mountains and rivers of healing properties in which our bodies can unravel the human and non-human interactions to build new worlds and stories. Its emerging cosmology evolves into a language that hovers between fiction and reality, in the threshold/liminal space. 


She, a dancer of the mythical realm, and I, a dancer of the human realm, harmonize through motion capture. The movements of our bodies in rhythm with each other, unifies the sacred order of the world. From the sound of the bells on her feet, the non-human-world emerges into the human-world that reverberates into the unrealized thought and song. 

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Scored by Aliyah Hussain from the soundtrack of ghungroo upon dancing

किन्नर's prakṛtiḥ, nṛtya, laya3.png
किन्नर's prakṛtiḥ, nṛtya, laya4.png

"A golden feathered Kinnari twirls and spins, hands signing in ancient tongues to the rhythmic beat of small Ghungroo bells attached to its bird clawed feet. Kinnaras are ancient mythological beings who are part human and part bird. Beloved in both Hindu and Buddhist folklore, the golden celestial musicians live in the mythical dimension found beyond the Himavanta forest (Himalayas). Their tourmaline pink and green, lotus-flowered realm was traditionally accessible for humans through parchment filled with painterly scenes of their serene and idyllic life. Today, the imagined lives of the Kinnaris are emitted into annd out of the worldbuilding artwork prakrtih, nrtya, laya (2022 onwards) by Saraiya.

Many indigenous and ancient cultures have their own metaphysical systems in order to answer perhaps the most poignant question of all. What is reality? What is illusion or (Maya)? In many subaltern cultures domains of conciousness such as, wakeful awareness and dreamstates are the loci to their epistemology. In fact, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad written around 700 BC includes important passages on dream metaphysics.

When someone falls asleep, he takes the stuff of the entire world, and he himself takes it apart, and he himself builds it up, and by his own bright light he dreams... There are no chariots there, no harnessings, no roads; but he emits chariots, harnessings and roads. There are no joys, happinesses, or delights there, but he emits joys, happinesses and delights. There are no ponds, lotus pools, or flowing streams there, but he emits ponds, lotus pools, and flowing streams. For he is the Maker. [Katr]."

Helen Starr, To Dance in the Dark: On the Worldbuilding Artworks of Kinnari Saraiya

Read full essay here.

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