Prabhakar Pachpute
Dark clouds of the future

“Dark Clouds Of The Future” is a cinematographic video animation of the abandoned gold mine in Brazil, Serra Pelada (“Naked Mountain”). Thought to be one of the largest mines in the world, made famous by the photographs Alfredo Jaar and later by Sebastião Salgado, the hand-dug mine is now a mercury-polluted lake. During his research trip to Brazil, Pachpute met many former gold diggers who used to work at Serra Pelada, inciting his interest in the concept of the witness. The motif of the eye in “Dark Clouds Of The Future” is reference to witnessing and participating in the environmental destruction brought about by industrialization. The perpetual movement and transformation in Pachpute’s landscape suggests the continuous erasure of the natural environment, provoking fears and questions for the future articulated in the ominous clouds casting shadows across the mountain. The repetitiveness of the medium, the strokes of coal and pencil on paper, brought to life, as a cinemagraph is a sophisticated examination of the irreversible consequences for nature and man. “Dark Clouds Of The Future” puts into question the autonomy of the individual in the face of a global community whose actions devastate the natural environment.

Prabhakar Pachpute’s (b. Chandrapur (Maharashtra), India, 1986) choice of media — coal — is a reference to the city in which he was raised, known as The City of Black Gold. Paying tribute to his family who worked in the coalmines Pachpute’s uses coal as an interrogation of hard labour and immigration. Moving from an exploration of drawing, sculpture and shadow installations, Pachpute’s work has recently tended towards context-based interventions and in-situ drawing. Through the occupation of space with a performative presence, Pachpute attempts to unravel the complexities of the contemporary social order and identity. The same theatricality and poetry can be found in his stop motion animation films, where the drawing process is enhanced as we watch the continuously built, erased and transformed images.