Straight 8—A Portrait of Tom D’aguiar is an attempt to revisit a collection of home movies that date back to the 1940s, in and around Bangalore City. The film is neither a documentary chronicling a life nor is it entirely without narrative. The home movies seen in the film were from an old house, where Tom lived, that was about to be demolished, and the fragments of his films were found in a plastic bag by the filmmaker. This process of “rummaging” can be seen as way of retrieving memory. In Straight 8, the 8mm films exist as fragments and slices of differentiated reality come to life, without a beginning or an end. The protagonist in the final lap of his life remembers, with precision, procedures and techniques, many of which are rarely referred to in today’s digital age. Straight 8 is not just a nostalgic film about amateur filmmakers and their technology. It intends to explore the creative expressions of ordinary people, at a time when technology was not easily available and technological/chemical processes were often clumsy. It looks at how technology is domesticated and improvised with, as imagination and desires evolve with the many shifts witnessed in the modern world.
Ayisha Abraham was born in 1963 in London, and currently lives in Bangalore, India. She received her BFA in Painting at the MS University, Baroda, India, in 1987. In 1991 she participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. New York City. In 1995 she completed her MFA at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has had several solo exhibitions in New York and India, as well as being exhibited in numerous group shows. In September 2005 her film Straight 8 was screened at the Srishti exhibition at Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria. In 2005 she was an invited artist at the Khoj residency in Mumbai. Her short film One Way, was screened at the Directors Fortnight at Cannes, May 2007. She exhibited her film Enroute at the Pompidou centre, Paris in 2010 and I saw a God Dance, a film about the dancer Ram Gopal at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2010. Both films showed at BAR1 ( Bengaluru Artists Residency), in Bangalore in 2011. She is an artist in Residence at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and a member of the Artists collective BAR1.