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in the bazaar


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I went back to India again in May 2022, this time as part of a three-week inaugural artist residency at Woodstock School in Mussoorie, which brought together seven alumni visual artists of all ages from India and around the world. My own project was to extend the series of portraits I’d begun in 2018, but now focusing specifically on people in the Mussoorie area, whether locals or Indian tourists and vacationers.

As I wandered in search of portrait subjects, I began to mull a change in my plan (and my medium), the better to express the hard-to-describe effect of the sensory and especially sonic assault that a visit to the bazaar produces. I found myself imagining some kind of video slide show of my portraits playing on a loop on a large wall monitor, with suitable soundtrack. So I borrowed a compact audio recorder from the school and took it into the bazaar, deliberately seeking out the most chaotic intersections—the very places that had given me a headache when I was there shooting pictures.


My work for the final group show of the residency was a hybrid of conventional prints mounted on metal panels and a 6-minute video of stills and soundtrack playing on a neighboring wall monitor. "In the Bazaar" (follow the link in the screenshot below) presents the same set of portraits three times: the sections might be thought of as (1) the fun bazaar, (2) the realistic bazaar, and (3) the imaginary bazaar.

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STUART GELZER photography

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