Saturday Features

The poetics of unity

  • The Fuzzscape team seems to have discovered that their project—while it is a celebration of our cultural and geographical uniqueness—is, at its core, an exploration of our identity and the factors that bind us together as people
- Sandesh Ghimire
The episode is more compact than the previous ones and the Fuzzscape team seems to have truly internalised the idea that the team was noodling around in the previous episode: a journey without any expectations or preconception

Oct 7, 2017-“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” —Marcel Proust

As we grow older and fit into our routined lives, the echo of temple bells, whistling of a tea kettle, the Kring Kring of rickshaws or the crackling of leaves is fused together in

our minds to form a chaos that we learn to avoid. Like the beggars, who we see and forget every day, we have gained, with age, the art of circumventing the aspects of our surrounding which do not fit into our agenda. For a child, however, every sight, every sound is a call for an adventure. For new eyes, even the most mundane activity is an opening of the mystery, of the hidden power that guides our lives. 

The episodic Fuzzscape, a venture of Fuzz Factory Productions, is best described as an attempt to make a statement: Art is created when the artist helps the audience regain the child like quality of looking at the world. The series cannot be called a cataloguing of “behind the scenes” or “making of” of music videos, but it is rather a lived experience. The episodes take us across the geographical and cultural belts of Nepal, and though we might have never trekked to Shermanthang or tried the sweet Jeris of Birgunj, we know the feeling of warmth when cool breeze passes through and the giddiness when sugar melts in our mouths. In a sense, everything that we experience through the videos are something we have already known, either through our lived experience or because they have been stored in our collective imagination. Yet, with each episode, there is something new, like walking through a dream that we have dreamt before. For instance, in the second episode, when the adventure of the Jogi transforms into a pixelated version, we immediately recall Dave, Prince of Persia, Mario and other 8-bit games that we played on our first computers.

In the first episode, we followed the group to Banepa, where we experienced the landscape with a renewed joy, and it is in the first episode that the tone of the series was set: Of creating joy, hope and happiness. Kapase Badal, the music video, with its minimalist animation, reminds us of our unadulterated childhood days. Our childlike wonder continues with the second and the latest episode, but with more texture and depth to the entire experience. When the Fuzzscape team moves beyond their isolated sylvan setting of Banepa to ascend to the hills of Shermanthang and dip into the chaos of Birgunj, we are served with a variety of language, musical influences and practices that are as distinct as the ecosystems in which they thrive in. The last two episodes have embraced a freer format than the first one, which have allowed the soundscape to truly influence the music. The videos have, thankfully, steered clear from being mere cultural exposition. The Fuzzscape team seems to have discovered that their project—while it is a celebration of our cultural and geographical uniqueness—is, at its core, an exploration of our identity and the factors that bind us together as people. Whether we lost our hearths to the shaking of the earth, or whether our husbands have strayed from the economic capital of the nation to drown in the desert heat of Gulf nations, our pain, despite being a personal experience, is universal. The scales of Tungna in Shermanthang might be different than that of the flutes in Birgunj, but our laughter echoes the same, and our resilience, which we have fostered across geographical belts, mirrors each other. Yet, there are different elements and unlike factors that give birth to our shared identity—the episode on Birgunj is a reminder of just that.

The Birgunj episode, from the choice of its font to the recording of the cityscape—visual as well as auditory—has a retro feel, as if the 80’s Bollywood has been immortalised in the city: loud colours, tanga, and thick swirly busy mustache on men. The episode is more compact than the previous ones and the Fuzzscape team seems to have truly internalised the idea that the team was noodling with in the previous episode: A journey without any expectations or preconception. The music is based on Jhijhiya, a Bojpuri folk tune, and the latest episode goes a step beyond the previous Hyolmo episode because the lyrics is entirely in Bhojpuri, and despite the fact that we need the aid of translation to understand them, the music and the video is a treat, comparable to the sweet jeri and even sweeter paan of Birgunj.

The Fuzzscape series, which brings together the collaboration of artists of several mediums, suffers badly from the lack of funds. As a result, the last two episodes took almost a year to complete. The Fuzzscape team has received grants along the way which has helped with production cost, but the funds have not been enough to provide financial incentive to the artists. Rajan Shrestha, one of the key players in the Fuzzscape series, informs that the team has applied for a grant and if they receive it, chances are they would not have to wait another year for a new episode.

But even if we have to wait a year we would. After all, what is a year? A year is another repetition in the cycle of seasons.

Sadly, paradoxically, our individual cycles don’t repeat as the wheels of nature, and a year of waiting is another 52 weeks away from childhood days, from the naive wonder we once possessed, a year away from a reminder to remain attuned to our surroundings. Who knows, paying attention to the Kring Kring of rickshaws and the chiming of temple bells might reveal the simplest truth of living, which we might have never considered before.

Published: 07-10-2017 08:12

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