Kheti Badi (2015)

I was in the 2nd standard of school when I learnt that India is an agriculture-based economy. I had never set foot on a farm back then. Today, after all these years, I have a farm on a virtual online game. I harvest my crops, feed my animals and buy pixels of land. It is my negotiation of being a farmer online and a practicing photographer away from the keyboard that has resulted in this body of work.

Today, the perfect red tomatoes, those genetically modified eggplants and even sized potato chips are what we recognize as healthy edible food. In this digital fantasy of perfection the farmer gets lost somewhere. Stories from the land and the farm have vanished in the face of this new culture of food consumption and farmhouses. The agriculture-based economy is a textbook dream in the wake of extreme industrialization and the ever-growing hybrid food industry. In the midst of such narratives, the farmer disappears in death and food in genetics.

Expanding my farm online is just a click away and I can be content with the illusion of knowing all about farming.

These images are made on the computer using apparatuses borrowed from the camera. The world we inhabit is one of digital aesthetic and our sense of beauty is constantly changing with the introduction of new technologies and commodities. Cameras make food look more appealing, while the food industry, in return, makes food that looks picture perfect. These photographs push the digital imagining to a breaking point. Pixels are the realities behind these digital beauties. Pixels are the reality we do not want to see in the same manner, we’d rather not see food that looks picture perfect. By breaking into those pixels with these images, dinner is served.

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