Shahzia Sikander manipulated hundreds of digitally animated drawings to create the idea of swarming, or collective behavior, as an observable phenomenon in Gopi-Contagion, which was shown on Times Square’s electronic billboards from 11:57 pm to midnight each night in October, 2015. This project was a part of Midnight Moment, a monthly presentation by The Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts.
Gopi-Contagion consisted of flocking particles made up of the silhouettes of hair from the Gopi, female worshipers of the Hindu god, Krishna. Hair from the female figures was then isolated to cultivate new associations. When in motion, the silhouettes looked like insects, birds, bats, or can translate as particles. The flocking reflected behavior of cellular forms that have reached self-organized criticality, resulting in a redistribution of both visual information and experiential memory.
“My process is driven by my interest in exploring and rediscovering cultural and political boundaries, and using that space to create new frameworks for dialogue and visual narrative. In my work, deconstruction is not limited to the miniature-painting format; it extends to the reimagining of historical content and entrenched symbols.” - Shahzia Sikander