Swarat Ghosh is an Indian visual artist based in Hyderabad. His photography has been published in several national and international magazines, including but not limited to - The Washington Post, Burn Magazine, The Guardian, Vogue Italia, FotoPolis, Liberation, National Geographic Traveller, and International Street Photographer. His work has also been presented in Brussels, London, Paris, Glasgow, Istanbul, Thailand, Pondicherry, Mumbai, Hyderabad. Currently, Swarat is part of Agency VII’s mentorship program. Also, by profession, he worked as a Visual Designer in a software development organisation based out of Hyderabad.
Most of us will have to slog for a living. To pay our day to day bills and hopefully, to put in some money for our social securities so that one day when we’re too old and feeble to work, we’ll have something to help us get by. For a lot of people, work is plodding. Clock in, work, eat lunch, clock out, go home. Rinse and repeat.
Work plays such a huge part in our daily lives that it has been immortalized, humorously and not so humorously, in movies, music, and literature. Who can forget such iconic songs related to work like Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” Then there’s Mike Judge’s darkly funny 1999 movie “Office Space”. Also, the movie from 1930s called "Metropolis" by Fritz lang which talks about the human race as workers who will be treated like "Ants" while the wealthy having a privileged life. And in the realm of books, there’s Studs Terkel’s classic nonfiction masterpiece “Working”, which talks about how work has fit into our lifestyle becoming a part of us. Of course, work isn’t just an American, Asian, or European phenomenon. It’s a necessity across the globe.
My project, “Boxed,” is about office work life, a universal story that is about the modern/contemporary workspace where we spend almost as much time, as we do at our homes. It helps people support their families, pursue their dreams, and maintain a certain lifestyle that they are habituated with.
In this particular project, I am more inclined to hunt for these absurd shapes and optical illusions that let the imagination run free & It tries to break the so-called stereotype scenes of office space.
Due to COVID 19 pandemic in India, since March 2020, everyone has been confined to their homes with minimum movement. Work from home has been made mandatory for most of the corporates and MNC’s. The drawing room of our homes is now our new Office bay or so-called Cubicles. Like many others, I too hope it's just a passing phase and soon we will go back to our normal lives.
I think my body of work fits well with the theme "Encounters" as it talks about the spaces mainly associated with the contemporary workspace. Though photographed on pre-COVID days it’s definitely significant and historically important at this current time and for our future generation as well.
At the moment we are all vulnerable and uncertain about how these workplaces will be shaped up or constructed post-pandemic days.