The Taxi Takes on Terror

Some of you who occasionally read Media and Mayhem know that I often think about the often troubling and strange place where media and culture meets  tragedy and catastrophe.

That is why I want to call your attention to The Taxi Takes  on Terror,  an ambitious effort by a talented young artist to confront terror and  find  common ground between diverse people through the surprizing lens  of a taxi in crowded Mumbai.   Vandana Sood is a graduate student in our MFA program in Integrated Media Arts at Hunter College.  Her thesis project is a mesmerizing use of both video and other new media tools  to examine the aftermath of the Mumbai massacre.

What makes the project so fascinating is that the “frame” she chooses for her exploration are the taxi cabs of Mumbai, spaces both public and private in which drivers and passengers — surrounded by the passing tumult of street life — try to make sense of such painful events. As Vandana asks on the home page of her web site:

“What happens when people from different class backgrounds, literacy levels or religious faiths sit across from each other in a taxi and take a journey together? Can this setting provide fertile ground for a rich dialogue about modern terrorism?”

The results of her  journey through the tumultuous streets of Mumbai are at once profound and beautiful.  And the temporary coming together of diverse people in a taxi does turn out to be an extraordinary moment for reflection and expression.  She captures a number of these interactions on film and also gives us a fascinating glimpse at the taxis themselves, vehicles that — inside and out — are extraordinary objects of art.

I invite you to take a look at Vandana’s The Taxi Takes on Terror.  It is a work intended to stimulate discussion and debate. Feel free to leave comments and engage in the discussion she has initiated.

And see just what is possible when a talented video-maker and digital artist  — working in the aftermath of an epic act of terrorism —  chooses the unique context of a taxi  to explore matters of conflict, violence, hope, life, and death.