Do you love feminism and performative poetry? Step right up to watch Kalki Koechlin's "The Printing Machine," — in fact, watch it even if poetry isn't generally your thing, because its unflinching, darkly satirical look at violence against women in the media is sure to outweigh anyone's dislike of the art form. Created as part of Blush's #Unblushed series, the video features Indian actress Koechlin performing her original poem, "The Printing Machine." Blush describes the poem as an "invective against a culture that may be going numb, one newspaper edition at a time," and as such, it focuses on the sensationalism in contemporary media. The results are a powerful reminder of how easy it is to become desensitized to violence — and why it's so important not to become numb.
"Chrr tak tak taka daka tak, chree, goes the steady printing machine," Koechlin begins, before launching into a diatribe against the media that breathlessly recounts horrific stories of violence against women, forever in search of the next lurid tale. She touches on everything from international incidents, such as the infamous 2012 Delhi gang rape case and the Japanese tourist allegedly raped by her tour guide last year, to acid attacks, which are disturbingly common even today. Each time, Koechlin returns to the motif of the media machine churning out "bloody scenes into bold black ink."
Then there is the flip side: The machine dedicated to "improving" women's lives by telling them to change everything about themselves to conform to a cultural ideal. "In soft baby pink, a pleasant opening page revealing a fair lovely face," Koechlin chants, "which melds a few pages on with the rise of acid sales." She concludes with a prediction that society will eventually fall to the mercy of the "little printing machine."
Koechlin told IANS that "Printing Machine" was inspired by the 24-hour news cycle, which moves from story to story without pause. "We are flooded by an onslaught of objectifying and horrific news reports and imagery that have desensitized us," she said, according to NDTV.
Ironically, the video is popular in the very media she railed against, with hundreds of thousands of views online. It even trended on Twitter for a time. Hopefully "Printing Machine" won't be forgotten when the news cycle moves on to something else, but something tells me Koechlin won't be surprised if it is. Check out the powerful video below:
Images: Blush/YouTube (2)