Murari Jha


‘The Longest March: Stretched Bodies’


‘The Longest March: Stretched Bodies’

Performance @ Greater Noida
Type: Live Art
Duration: 50 Minutes
Year: 2021
Description: 20 Participants for a walk of 2000m with 20 Sculptures

The performance/live art, held across multiple sites in Delhi and NCR, serves as a poignant response to the profound journey experienced during the lockdown (COVID-19). This series of performative acts aims to absorb and honor the silence for those who undertook the longest march home, many losing their lives in the process. Through this artistic expression, we reflect on their resilience and sacrifice, transforming urban spaces into stages of remembrance and solidarity.

‘The Longest March: Stretched Bodies’.

Duration | 4.23 Minutes

Conceived by | ABR

The work offers a unique psychological viewpoint. It describes certain traumatic experiences that stretch the body far beyond its limits of bearability, sanity and cohesion, to points where pain becomes unindividuated and petrifies into physical affects, almost landscape-like in their expanse and timelessness.

Landscapes are thus presented as pained little things composed of belaboured parts. These parts, like amputated limbs, appear to carry on with their truncated functions long after the visitation of trauma, till exhaustion claims them.

For video Click Here

For review: Click Here

‘The Longest March: Stretched Bodies’. @ abr &  Mumbai art room on Instagram Page

The video offers a bricolage of various body parts, where their labours are highlighted as opposed to any relationship to the whole. The measured march of the feet that can start to resemble the efficient trot of a horse, falters for a brief instant (probably because of the poor fit of the requisitioned galoshes?) before catching itself.  A head protected by a yellow construction helmet bobs up and down, trying to catch up to the frame, its breathy efforts becoming more and more frantic. A lone mouth performs the motions of mastication. These parts, like amputated limbs, appear to helplessly carry on with their truncated functions long after the stimulus has been removed, till they are magically transfigured by the force of their own manic labours into bodyscapes. At this point it is no longer possible to say whether the body is human, an animal, an object or a landscape. It becomes a pure affect indistinguishable from its surroundings. For the artist, these painful abstractions can both openings for a general empathy, as well as signify a limit to that empathetic outreach. In other words, while we can mobilise our own painful experiences to empathise with the pain of the others, but somehow we can never fully grasp it in its specificity.

Text | Adwait Singh,Curator and Writer

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