a concept
is a brick
Mimsy, Cool it.
Feeling that this required an answer, I put my hand in the hip pocket of my trousers as though i were looking for something. actually, i wasn’t looking for anything, i just wished to change my appearance in order to show interest in the conversation
To the West. When you say that we are a cultured people, you actually mean that we understand the subtleties and complexities of your culture. You mean that we should dream your dreams, since you do not have or acknowledge any others, but that we should live our own lives, since we cannot have yours.
Slavoj Zizek – One of the most disgusting things is when what you secretly dream about is brutally imposed on you form the outside. We have a nice name for a realized dream: it is called a nightmare.
It seems men merely represent an intermediary stage between monkeys and big edifices in the morphological process. Forms have become increasingly static, and increasingly dominant. Moreover, the human order has, from the start, been inherently linked to the architectural order, the latter simply being a development of the former.
Persons of culture, advocates of progress, choice intellectuals, foaming at the mouth, construct machines, move science forward is secret spite, trying to forget and not to hear the rumbling of the elements, subterranean and terrestrial, which are stirring, now here now there. Only sometimes they awake and look around them and see the same earth…
The Plaza Suite (1971), Directed by Arthur Hiller

Intermission

Intermission

So… a designer, furniture maker, writer, reader, dancer? I should explain: A Westerner, lost in an Easterner’s lesson on utopia, catches a reference to Max Weber. In particular, Weber’s discussion of an Iron Cage in the last stage of a cultural development: Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart. It’s here that the Westerner wakes up and says, “Ah, we have coeval beliefs, my friend! That the future culture (now)) is on of the sterility and dispassion!” The Easterner nods, sure, then asks “Do you know how our iron cage is constructed?” The Westerner never learned to weld, was more of a woodworker, so listened:

The base of the cage is knowledge, and its bars are power. At their sangam )the welding point of bar and base), theory ceases to be theory and becomes common sense. All the Professionals in our lives accrue to this joint’s strength. They enforce it with more prestige than its practical successes warrant. And once this joint has reached the peak of its success, the cage can create knowledge and the very reality it encases. This knowledge-power-bred reality produces traditions and discourse, who material presence and weight, not the originality of the maker, become the only thing responsible for what comes in and out of that cage. After a lengthy debate, the Westerner finally proclaims, “I did it! I’ve built this cage. It’s indestructible, it’s heavy, and it’s a damn beautiful piece of work. What do you thing?” The Easterner replies, “I promise, I’ve been to utopia, and it’s greater than what we’ve built.” The Westerner feels discouraged. The Easterner devices a plan: We will build more. But instead of more cages, we’ll build an unrealistic, nonsensical amount of fire escapes. The fire escapes will be designed, built by hand, drawn, directed, written, read, danced. Probably more. One fire escape will lead into another. They’ll break, their joints won’t be strong. They’ll last, and the cage will transform. This will be our route to utopia. Never to be specialized without spirit, or sensualized without heart. Good luck, they tell one another. In agreement, I begin.

ART DIRECTOR FILM – MUSIC – STAGE

RELEASED FOOTAGE – BYKI, MAM, etc.

UPCOMING: Twelve (2019) directed by Angel Manuel Soto, Tigertail (2019) directed by Alan Yang, The Deuce Season 3

DRAFTING

SOLANGE AT THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

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GRAPHICS

SERPENT WITH FEET

RBMF

RBMF Text

Left
Right

RETURN OF THE Maria Sisters

Furniture for the Maria Sisters explores the intersections between novel and installation- particularly how the content of the book can be altered through the experience surrounding its readings.

Return of the Super Maria Sisters follows Maria and Luisa, two failed female video game characters who were shoved into oblivion . The mysterious Generator grants them a thirty-year upgrade into the contemporary and releases them into the world of Super Maria 3D World. Their evolution of various humanistic qualities, such as gender, physicality, race, and consciousness triggers their understanding that they are, nonetheless, post-human holograms in a virtual and textual world. The narrative explores the various contemporary theories of Donna Haraway, Rosi Braidotti, and N. Katherine Hayles through an architectural narrative infrastructure. With influences from Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka, and eastern philosophies, Maria and Luisa (and their furniture) redefine the post-human consciousness for contemporary beings.

Novella

Author: Ambika Subramaniam
Publisher: Sub/Sur
Editions Distributed by Motto Books, UK.
Language: English
Pages: 167
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 9780993380303

Badlands Unlimited is a New York-based independent publisher founded by the artist Paul Chan (artist) in 2010, publishing s e-books, paper books, and artist works in digital and print forms. BU publishes and produces works by artists and writers that embody the spirit of this emerging dissolution.

At one point (a fairish point in contemporary art history) BU consisted of Ian Cheng, Michael Durand, Parker Bruce, Ambika Subramaniam, and Maddy Verner. During this buoyant time, the press published texts by and with other artists in the form of paperbacks, ebooks, digital group exhibitions, a stone book, and other various media. The press also consulted on projects related to digital publishing for art institutions.

Some artifacts from the fire escape at Badlands Unlimited…

INTO WORDS: SELECTED WRITINGS OF CARROLL DUNHAM: A fantastic book, and everyone should read it. Carroll Dunham showcases his writing talents, engaging with a wide variety of artists in the form of reviews, catalog essays, and interviews. Intro by Scott Rothkop.
EROTICA: NEW LOVERS – Inspired by Maurice Girodias’ legendary Olympia Press, New Lovers features the raw and uncut writings of authors new to the erotica genre. Each novella has its own unique take on relationships, intimacy, and sex, as well as the complexities that bedevil contemporary life, culture, and art today.

Badlands Unlimited also took part in various proposals and endeavors like writing a play, proposing the production of said play, designing a lube, partnering with a 99¢ store, rebuilding that store inside of Moma PS1, and building an AI Erotica.

New No’s is a poem by Badlands Unlimited written after the election of Donald J. Trump and acts as a declaration against the drift of American society toward what is most un-American. Since its publication in December 2016, New No’s has entered into collections and has been exhibited throughout the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art’s exhibition, An Incomplete History of Protest. It was listed as one of the best works of art in 2016 by Holland Cotter in the New York Times and featured as one of the responses to the current political situation in Artforum. Part of the proceeds from sales will go towards Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

Graphics
For Film
Exit

Sketching and construction of a deer’s pelvic bone in Rhino and AutoCad, manipulated through assemblages and multiplications, constructed in Grasshopper, splayed with a Voronoi pattern, mapped onto the original bone surface to create various 3D printable objects, THEN linearized using Rhino, and remodeled using CNC cuts of plywood Such is making a chair.

Dances With Rhizome Pixels explores how the contemporary context of computerization affects the horizon of our everyday behavior and can relate to the traditional notion of gestus within the dance form of Bharatanatyam. The classical dance, in which movement once described the cultural notions of the body, becomes a cyber-dance, simulating gestus through technobiology and written hypertext. Consciousness within movement is derailed by the interactive behavior with technology, transforming the coordination between natural body rhythms and surroundings into a technologically mediated hyperactivity and hyperrealism with movement and image. The hypertext, which is superimposed on the dance, dictates the individual movements, space, color, and other elements of the frame and movement. The impossible composition of Bharatanatyam and hypertext becomes a mechanism that undermines the alleged transparency of the interface, personifying the illusion of our collective insight into how cyber technology functions and exposing the innate opacity of the medium. A collaboration between Alex Zandi and Ambika Subramaniam.

Based within a discussion of semiotics, Ergonomically Designing Art Objects researches furniture’s significations and its evolution through traditional form, ergonomic function, and aesthetic product. Major points include the ways in which objects are capable of collapsing and retaining the semiotic divide between a sign and referent, and how that signification relates to contemporary design-oriented products. Using the chair as a somewhat satirical object, the installation questions how objects have lost their signifying properties due to increased visual marketing and branding – colors, overexposure, and set-design beautification. A study of a chair’s semiotic nature has the potential to change that lost signification (either through retention or separation) while still being an ergonomic object.

The Sumerians told tales of Zisudra, who built a vessel to survive the great waters sent by a Divine Counsel. Hindus described how Matysa warned man of an impending flood, thus wiping out all of Earth. Noah was instructed to build an arc that contained a pair of every animal. The Chinese failed to built an arc in time for the Yellow River overflow. FEMA failed to build boats for the coming of the great flood, Katrina. In preparation for a great flood, the SUPERARC prototype proposes a structure that interlaces the gure of an artist, architect, and jester-designer into a new cultural project to illustrate Sylvia Lavin’s discussion of superarchitecture (Kissing Architecture, 2011). As a super-arc, the two-part design can be stored, assembled into a flotation device, and then reassembled into a temporary shelter. A symbol of integrated capitalist markets, cultures based within mythology, and art and architecture, the SUPERARC represents the beginning of a new civilization after world destruction by flood. The physical prototype is UV Protected and translucent, meant for a house but also durable when submerged in water.

Entire territories and spaces are created by framing devices such as walls, roofs, or floors that define the exterior from the interior. On a microscale, furniture is the means to which entire interior spaces are framed, territorialized, and moved within. It is the closest, tangible way in which humans can experience the interior and its sensations. FRAMED SEATS uses a furniture installation inspired by Jorgen Hovelskov’s harp chair to describe the relationship between frame and seat, and how the movements within frames orchestrate vacant, disconnected spaces that exist outside of frames. The different styles of furniture, with the cohesive rhythmic string, allow scale, perspective, and practicality of the pieces to be determined by the frame from which one sees or experiences the space.

T H E V E G E T A L I S E X T E N S I V E T H E G E O L O G I C A L I S M A S S I V E T H E M E N T A L I S I N T E N S I V E EASTERN DETACHMENT WESTERN MATERIALISM DG/Soleri
Mimsy, Cool it.
Feeling that this required an answer, I put my hand in the hip pocket of my trousers as though i were looking for something. actually, i wasn’t looking for anything, i just wished to change my appearance in order to show interest in the conversation
To the West. When you say that we are a cultured people, you actually mean that we understand the subtleties and complexities of your culture. You mean that we should dream your dreams, since you do not have or acknowledge any others, but that we should live our own lives, since we cannot have yours.
Slavoj Zizek – One of the most disgusting things is when what you secretly dream about is brutally imposed on you form the outside. We have a nice name for a realized dream: it is called a nightmare.
It seems men merely represent an intermediary stage between monkeys and big edifices in the morphological process. Forms have become increasingly static, and increasingly dominant. Moreover, the human order has, from the start, been inherently linked to the architectural order, the latter simply being a development of the former.
Persons of culture, advocates of progress, choice intellectuals, foaming at the mouth, construct machines, move science forward is secret spite, trying to forget and not to hear the rumbling of the elements, subterranean and terrestrial, which are stirring, now here now there. Only sometimes they awake and look around them and see the same earth…
IMDB

So… a designer, furniture maker, writer, reader, dancer? I should explain: A Westerner, lost in an Easterner’s lesson on utopia, catches a reference to Max Weber. In particular, Weber’s discussion of an Iron Cage in the last stage of a cultural development: Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart. It’s here that the Westerner wakes up and says, “Ah, we have coeval beliefs, my friend! That the future culture (now)) is on of the sterility and dispassion!” The Easterner nods, sure, then asks “Do you know how our iron cage is constructed?” The Westerner never learned to weld, was more of a woodworker, so listened:

The base of the cage is knowledge, and its bars are power. At their sangam )the welding point of bar and base), theory ceases to be theory and becomes common sense. All the Professionals in our lives accrue to this joint’s strength. They enforce it with more prestige than its practical successes warrant. And once this joint has reached the peak of its success, the cage can create knowledge and the very reality it encases. This knowledge-power-bred reality produces traditions and discourse, who material presence and weight, not the originality of the maker, become the only thing responsible for what comes in and out of that cage.
After a lengthy debate, the Westerner finally proclaims, “I did it! I’ve built this cage. It’s indestructible, it’s heavy, and it’s a damn beautiful piece of work. What do you thing?” The Easterner replies, “I promise, I’ve been to utopia, and it’s greater than what we’ve built.”

The Westerner feels discouraged. The Easterner devices a plan:

We will build more. But instead of more cages, we’ll build an unrealistic, nonsensical amount of fire escapes. The fire escapes will be designed, built by hand, drawn, directed, written, read, danced. Probably more. One fire escape will lead into another. They’ll break, their joints won’t be strong. They’ll last, and the cage will transform. This will be our route to utopia. Never to be specialized without spirit, or sensualized without heart.

Good luck, they tell one another. In agreement, I begin.

AMBIKA SUBRAMANIAM

b: 1992; New York, NY

a@ambikasubra.com

IATSE 829 – Scenic Design

Education

  • 2015

    M.A. Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK, with Honors

  • 2014

    B.F.A. Film Theory and Sculpture, summa cum laude, Washington University in St. Louis

  • 2012

    Santa Reparata International School of Art, Italy

Skills

Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign; Sketchup 3D, Vectorworks3D, Rhino 5 (Windows), AutoCAD (Windows), Grasshopper (Windows); TextWrangler, CSS, HTML; Microsoft Office; Final Cut Pro

Employment

  • 2019

    The Deuce, HBO, New York, NY

    Created by David Simon and George Pelecanos; Production Designer: Scott Dougan Graphics
    January, 2019 – Present

  • 2018

    Charm City (Twelve), Feature Film, Baltimore, MD

    Directed by Angel Manuel Soto; Written by Barry Jenkins; Production Designer: Scott Dougan Graphics
    September 17, 2018 – November 17, 2018

  • City Morgue’s “Black Matter” and “Lambo,” Music Video, New York, NY

    Production Designer
    October 28, 2018 – October 30, 2018

Books

Selected Writings of Carroll Dunham, by Carroll Dunham; Edited by Paul Chan, Assistant Edited by Ambika Subramaniam; Published by Badlands Unlimited, 2017

Awards

  • 2017

    Permanent Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, “New No’s” By Badlands Unlimited

  • 2016

    Book Works Semina Series 2016-2017 (manuscript shortlisted)

  • 2015

    Clifford Chance Exhibition Design Award, University of the Arts, London (nomination)

  • 2015

    Unstitute, Spatio-Mnemonic Digital Residency

  • 2014

    John T. Milliken Residency Grant, from Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France

  • 2014

    Caroline Risque Janis Prize in Sculpture

  • 2014

    Sam Fox Award in Sculpture, Washington University in St. Louis

Articles and Reviews

  • 2017

    Badlands Unlimited, Publisher’s Weekly, Review of “Into Words: The Selected Writings of Carroll Dunham”

  • 2017

    Badlands Unlimited, ArtReview, March 2017, “What kind of art is being spawned in the place that spawned Trump?”

  • 2017

    Badlands Unlimited, Mousse Magazine, Issue 57, “What do we know?”

  • 2017

    Badlands Unlimited, Dazed Digital, “Facebook bans controversial anti-Trump protest posters”

  • 2016

    Badlands Unlimited, NYTimes “Best Art of 2016” for the work “New No’s”

  • 2015

    London Journal of Critical Thought, “Digital Ontologies for Contemporary Art”

  • 2014

    It’s Nice That, “Furniture Design: Intricate woven chair designs by Ambika Subramaniam”

  • 2014

    Temporary Art Review, “Of Zebraification: A Review of Cousins Presents ‘Faceless’”

  • 2014

    Astrum People, “Ambika Subramaniam: Ergonomically Designing Art Objects”

  • 2013

    Washington University Literature Department Collection, “Deleuze and Guattari Product Thesis”