Untitled (left) & Future Tales in Automation 1-10 (right)

Jagannath Panda (left), Navin Thomas (right)

Devi Art Foundation

Devi Art Foundation
Gurgaon, Haryana, India

(left) There is nothing that globalization has left un¬touched, including the figural imaginations of an Orissan artist, Jagannath Panda, whose primary art education was in his home state and who then travelled around the world. This has stretched his experiences from the minutely local to the pervasively global. The elasticity of experiences seems to have condensed in this sculptural installation in which a sphere has been pasted entirely with strips from pages of the Illustrated Oxford English Dictionary, creating a flux of words and images.
Resting on the floor, this spherical dictionary has an unsettling sense of motion, as if it is about to roll around and perturb the existing order of the words on the surface. The dynamic inherent in the spherical form is symptomatic of the condition of globalization, not only in the signification of the globe, but also in its sense of movement.This work is as much about Anglicism as it is about globalization. It shows us how the English language has colonized the globe and how the globe has colonized the English language. Note that the globe is totally erased of other languages and scripts, and also of political maps and bor-ders. This is not a globe on which terra incognita is denoted by lost and found contours, but it is a ‘terrain of cognition’ informed by satellite tech¬nology and electronic media capital, all unified in one language.

(right) Navin Thomas trained as a cinematographer and graphic designer. As an artist based in Bengalooru whose primary tool of artistic production is the computer, Thomas is sensitive to the alterations in the life-style of the work force engaged in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. Automation, voice and accent training and sleeping patterns determined by the call-centre industry prompted Thomas to make a series of photographic and comic strip collages, allegorically deploying parrot beaks and telephone receivers.
In Future Tales of Automation, the parrot beak recurs. The parrot here alludes not to the parrot-storyteller in Indian myths, but to a bird which is able to imitate the sounds that humans make, compulsively and repetitively, without understanding the meaning of the words uttered.
Future Tales of Automation is a pastiche of Amar Chitra Katha clip-art, in which the elements of graphic novels like speech balloons, thought bubbles, dialogue boxes, and exclamations are put to use against graphic design patterns. The ten frames in the series have a unity in their imaging technique but they are totally disconnected as far as the flow of text or story line are concerned. The series does not make any coherent story like a graphic novel does, but throws out disconnected thoughts triggered by speeches such as Garuda asking, ‘Will the shift never end father?’ while dropping a set of telephone receivers from his hands.


  • Title: Untitled (left) & Future Tales in Automation 1-10 (right)
  • Creator: Jagannath Panda (left), Navin Thomas (right)
  • Date: 2007(left) & 2005 (right)
  • Location: Devi Art Foundation
  • Physical Dimensions: 60 inch diameter (left) & 51.1 inches x 35 inches, series of 10 works (right)
  • Type: Photograph
  • Method or Style: Fibreglass, metal frame, paper (left) & Print on archival paper (right)

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