The present is a ruin without the people
“The Present is a Ruin without the People” is an audio-visual installation that explores the physical and emotional spaces unwillingly abandoned by individuals in times of conflict and war. Primarily focusing on the cathartic aspect of destruction and reconstruction, visual artist Ruby Chishti hand-sews thousands of layers of recycled textiles into sprawling architectural forms—a work of love and endurance that transmutes what was once abandoned into a source of beauty and compassion. Carefully chosen and assembled, Chishti treats each scrap of fabric with the same care that she would offer the humans who once wore them.
In the artist’s words: “I am experimenting with new ways of placing myself in the world through representational, poignant narratives of exile and dislocation, social expectations, memory, love, loss and even simply being human. It is a framework I use to explore the codependent relationship between personal experience and the socio-political narratives that are often forced on individual citizens. My own experiences with crisis and loss compel me to make art that amplifies the voices of those of us who have survived the emotional and physical trauma resulting from conflict, destruction, and the universal issue of mortality. It is my way of engaging with the tenuous fragility of human existence, while exploring a variety of materials and reinventing sculptural forms that can forge a sense of collective human connection. “
As a means of increasing the impact of her work, Chishti has paired her sculpture with a score, titled ”In the absence of sparrows” a 3 min 15 sec soundscape. In collaboration with technical advisor Damon Dorsey and created a motion-activated, computer-controlled sound system that helps place the listener into an ambiance of absence, that often affects us more intensely than that which may be physically present.