Piercing Reality, Interpreting Boundaries: Video as a Testing Ground for Ched/Bhed
“Video is like the mind. Ideas and images keep switching all the time, appearing, overlapping and dissolving simultaneously…” – Navjot, 2009 
Navjot’s inter-media installations and video works emerge from her engagement with the politics of representing marginalised individuals or communities who live in the penumbral zone of non-citizenship: the migrant, the subaltern artist or the survivor of a genocide. The artist’s relationships with these marginalised figures are not produced serially, but emerge from what Miwon Kwon has called the “uneven conditions of adjacencies and distances” between the self and the other. 
Between Thick Description and Divinatory Method
I would suggest that Navjot’s approach in her videos bears an affinity with those of cultural anthropologists such as, in their distinctive ways, Clifford Geertz and Margaret Mead. By this, I do not mean to limit Navjot’s art to the ethnographic, or to posit any simple correspondence between art and anthropology. Rather, I point to a rich and complex transdisciplinary relationship. As we know from the work of Geertz and Mead, anthropology cannot be treated as a science among other sciences. Their writing demonstrates that the ethnographic account is always a narrative mediated through the subjectivity of the anthropologist, who cannot remain a passive or objective observer of his/her subject. Not surprisingly, Geertz was trained in literary criticism and deeply interested in narrative as literary form , and Mead regarded herself as a literary artist.
‘Thick description’, a term that Geertz borrowed from the philosopher Gilbert Ryle, refers to a methodology that does not merely concentrate on human behaviour, but attends to the context within which that behaviour unfolds, is understood and is accorded significance. As the context changes, so does the meaning of that behaviour. As Geertz explains, “...culture is not a power, something to which social events, behaviours, institutions, or processes can be causally attributed;
Still from Water Weaving, video installation, single channel projection, 18 minutes, 2005 (Previous page): Multiples, mixed media work, 2000. Exhibited at The Guild Art Gallery and Prithvi Gallery, Mumbai, 2001