Praneet Soi: Kumartuli Printer Notes on Labour Part 1 (2010)

Praneet Soi invites contemplation of the sturdy relationship between manuality and apparatus, craft and context, which characterizes the workshops of cities in the Third World. His slide show parses out the gestures of a printer’s hands as he interacts with an ancient pedal operated press in Calcutta. As the operator feeds paper into his anachronistic machine, it spits out grainy images of his own hands, immersed in labour.

Praneet Soi (b. 1971 Kolkata, India) currently divides his time between Amsterdam and India.

Photo: Dag Fosse

A few weeks ago before the opening of the exhibition I sat down with Aoi Yoshizawa and had a nice talk about her nomadic life and the project for Material Information. 

You are originally from Japan. How did you end up in Scandinavia?

AY: I was studying sociology in Japan and they accidentally sent me to Sweden for exchange studies and I fell in love with the place. I finished my studies in Japan and then I moved back to Sweden to study art in Uppsala, and continued studying arts and crafts in Stockholm. From there I came to Bergen to get a BA in textile art. Now I’m taking my master’s degree at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.

You have studied textile art and design. Do you consider yourself an artist or a designer? Or is it important for you to make the distinction?

AY: Now I study design, most of our projects are surface design. Bergen Art Academy is really an art school and the studies are more conceptual, Aalto University is different. I am an artist but I do different things. Design projects inspire me a lot. And I know this art vs design is a big thing but I don’t want to think about it that way. It’s all melting together and it inspires me.

Can you tell me about your project for Material Information?

AY: The starting point is my nomadic life and especially the emotional aspect of it, not the physical. I’ve also lived in the USA so I’ve been moving constantly. I’ve always known that I’m not going to stay long in one place so the relationships with people don’t get so deep and strong. That makes me miss my real family. But in Finland I feel like I have found real friends who help and trust each other. And one of them said that we are like a family. This makes my life feel so rich and I wanted to do something with it. I wanted to involve my friends and see how they react when I ask them for something and see if they support me. But most of all I wanted to make our connection visible.