• Ideas
  • Mar 09, 2018

A Meticulous Obsession: Shezad Dawood’s Virtual Reality “Kalimpong”

The dimly lit hotel lobby—a room filled with dark, heavy wood, with detailed parquet floors and ceiling—materialized like the backdrop out of a film noir. Several black-and-white photographs, along with worn-looking textiles, hang on the walls, which are covered with an ornate, jade-green fabric. The looping soundtrack of a 1930s jazz piano hinted that I had traveled back in time. I saw no other guests, only the translucent figures of ghosts scattered about—some of them alone, others conversing with each other. Those apparitions were my first clue that the old Himalayan Hotel I had landed in was not so much a faithful reproduction as it was an imagined history.

Still from SHEZAD DAWOOD’s Kalimpong, 2016, virtual reality. Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London/New York.