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Dev Dhunsi

Tales They Don’t Tell You   

In the Hindu scripture Shatapatha Brahmana, written between the 6th and 8th centuries BCE, we encounter scientific knowledge of geometry, observational astronomy, and many tales, where time is told in a cyclical, nonlinear way. The book recounts how the sweat dripping down the god Shiva’s head is the water of Ganges River, where the ashes of generations of deceased people travel along the currents like a miniature collection of the past. I depart from a lens-based practice to explore remains of untold ancient tales, including gay love.   

The two male water gods Varuna and Mitra represent the two stages of the moon, waxing and waning. Mitra controls the ocean depths while Varuna rules over the ocean’s upper regions and the tides. The two gods meet on new moon nights and Mitra is described to “implant his seed” in Varuna in order to secure the moon’s waning.   

A close friend of mine went missing a few years ago. During a fourteen-day search for him I longed for our companionship. World geographies interconnect unexpectedly, as water is strongly symbolic for my hometown, Trondheim, where the river divides the two sides of the city, separating its people. The river has also taken many lives, those of drug users and migrant first, but also, mysteriously, youth.   

Working with cameras I focus on what is outside the picture frame or on other-than-human beings, such as minerals, spirits, textiles, and ancestors. I try to create site- and time-specific works that can be experienced through multisensory channels. By giving visibility to images that morph, decay, and evolve, my ecosystems highlight the intimate yet expansive coexistences among diverse beings, acknowledging our shared and continuous participation in the processes of living, dying, and decomposing.   

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