Sri Lankan digital artist and filmmaker Muvindu Binoy (born 1989) works with different issues facing Generation Y—in his own country, also universally. His major themes include gender, agency and decision-making, status and title, the expectation of traditional values and the modern “emancipated” standards of the digital age.
Muvindu has created an unofficial trilogy that looks at the intersection of consumerism, contemporary culture and violence. “The Holy Merchandise”, “Divine Thru” and “God is a Mesh” carry the same experimental process with different aesthetics.
“God is a Mesh” was exhibited recently at Saskia Fernando Gallery in Colombo. The artist explains: “‘God is a mesh’ is a play on the words ‘God is a mess’. It doesn’t directly imply that all religions are a mess; it is to say that our highest belief is not independently justified but as a collective of all our beliefs. We are on our way to becoming Gods via the digital age and with this need to stay connected and network with our beliefs the ‘mesh’ is formed. In the same process that I find my images for collages, these 3D objects are already on the internet. I assemble them or collage them into new compositions, detaching them from their original meanings/purposes. These compositions are inspired by the Renaissance period and hipster culture.”
It is difficult to immediately understand and interpret the action within and setting of these images. They aim to illustrate an elusive cyberspace that we are all caught within yet cannot quite put our finger on. As it makes our daily life easier and easier, the cyberspace relieves us more and more of our human woes, giving us new powers, putting us on the verge of a certain “godlike-ness”. Pure, colossal superhuman forms in the images depict this phenomenon. Then there are nets, showing our interconnectedness. But there are also symbols of death, barbed wires, skulls, spikes and daggers, stuff that flows like blood—and the viewer is invited to guess the dangers of the world we have got ourselves into. Muvindu’s preferred format is the square, an indirect citation of the image-cosmos of Instagram.
Apart from exploring the digital age, the artist acts as an observer of the ever-present trauma that remains in Sri Lanka after the Civil War (1983-2009), even though he never actively participated in it nor had a first-hand experience of it. Many of his other collages visualise popular culture objects in combination with nostalgic vintage photographs from colonial Ceylon.