Anatomy of Forking Paths
In the course of his short story ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’, author Jorge Luis Borges puts forward a seemingly simple proposition; what if, in the face of a situation that presents before us multiple options that we need to choose from, we could opt – simultaneously – for all of them, instead of picking one and thereby eliminating the others.
At the crux of such a temporally liberal system is the possibility of diverse strands of futures created in turn by each option chosen, each strand of future irreconcilable with the other and each proliferating and forking, perpetually, toward innumerable futures themselves. Every thread of event thus unraveled would be unlike the other not only in terms of incident but also at the level of essence and import, making them all individually unique in terms of meaning. With regard to creation such a system would translate into the heartening opportunityto embrace the possibilities posed by both,our successesas well as our failures, the trepidations andthe certainties, with equal aplomb. It would render redundant the unremitting struggle to convert ideas into actualities and free us, once and for all, of the constant process of selection, deletion and censoring we must subject our thoughts to in our efforts to realize them.
Unlike Ts’ui Pen’s protagonist in the Borges story we,however,haven’t the freedom to tread downeveryavailable path at a crossroad.The artist’seagernessto fulfill the infinite prospects presented by a work thusrequires a perpetual return to that critical juncture at which paths areopted for and meanings decided upon, with the eternal faith that the passage of time will permittaking up new roads and uncover new meanings.
This collection, excavated out of the last half a decade of ReenaSainiKallat’s practice, is a rumination on time.It is a manifestation of the artist’s meanderings through her own past labours in the hope of rediscovering thedecisive interstices at which choices had formerly been made.It is here that the paths fork, and trails, once denied and discarded, may again be pursued. This revisitationis an attempt to witness the imprints of time on one’s works.But, itis alsoan absorbed effort to recomposemeanings, to injectnew significations and narratives intothem by bringingtogether the outcome of various moments of one’s practice alongside each other. The quiet aspirationof this bid toretrace, to reconfigure,is to cut through the sinews, the skin and the bones of one’s own artistic journeyand uncover, in the process, the secret anatomy of forking paths.