Situated on the banks of the river Jhelum in Srinagar, the mausoleum dates to 1430. Its architecture points to the links between Kashmir and central Asia. The tile itself, glazed in blue, had sculpted upon it a shape in low relief unlike anything Soi had seen before.
This tile was replicated at the Bordallo Pinheiro Ceramic Factory. The period of fabrication, starting from the modelling of the tiles to their eventual placement in the kiln, provided Soi with an alibi for observing the workers and the industrial processes employed. Documenting this video allowed the dynamics of the factory to seep into the narrative. These same tiles now line the surface of the curving dioramic wall situated within the Conversations space, adding texture to the projection of the video.
Included within this narrative is a collaged animation documenting the Timurid jade jar from the Founder’s Collection. This object once belonged to Jehangir (1569-1627), a Mughal king who ruled over Kashmir. Locating its presence within the Museum helped Soi unfold the project for this edition of Conversations.
Work on this exhibition began more than a year ago with Soi’s invitation to outline a new project for the Museum based on his ongoing exploration of Kashmir. Soi has been visiting Srinagar since 2009 and engaging with artisans there in part to gain an understanding of this troubled border region. Kashmir is India’s northernmost state and since 1947 (the year the subcontinent rid itself of British rule) the site of a separatist movement. The cut-out red mountain-like shape within the Conversations space allows Soi to recall the Zabarwan mountain range lying to the North-East of Srinagar.
Soi’s repeated visits to Lisbon enabled a growing familiarity with the city and allowed him to internalise aspects of its history and culture and as well to ruminate upon certain objects within the storage of the Museum. The play of light upon the Kum Kapi rugs is one of these examples. A set of uncatalogued Sassanid coins is yet another. These he comments upon in a diaristic way within the video that is projected upon the back of a pillar placed deep within the room. The semi-circular front of the pillar is encrusted with tiles similar to that upon the curving screen albeit coloured and patterned close to the formation visible upon the mausoleum in Srinagar.
The aural environment within the space consists of a layering of sound from the timeline of the dioramic projection and the composition created by the Lisbon based composer and architect David Maranha. Maranha recorded sound within the factory as a beginning to this collaboration.
The title Third Factory references the book by the Russian Formalist Víktor Shklovski (1893-1984). Within the book the author recognises three periods of his life which were important to his formative growth as a writer. Soi takes his time in Srinagar, Caldas and Lisbon as a point of departure, utilising space and the transformation inherent in the projection of video upon architecture to forward another agenda – that of the multiplication of points of entry and departure within subject matter.
Curator: João Carvalho Dias