HD video with sound, 21 minutes 27 seconds

Happy Thuggish Paki, 2020

Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland

 

Description

Layered with trickster-daemonic cues, Happy Thuggish Paki is an audiovisual collage exploring practices of associative thinking and elliptical wordplay akin to rap production. It takes as a starting point the historical application of the word ‘thug’, which originated in British-India to name a so-called religious cult of murderers. Happy Thuggish Paki begins with footage of Pandhal ruminating candidly on his animation process. This is cut to a scene in which a clip from the animated cartoon series Pac Man, based on the popular 80s video game, is digitally nested into an animated scene constructed by Pandhal. The Pac Man cartoon did not receive an adequate translation between the USA, where it was produced, to the UK, where Pandhal had seen it as a child. Pac Man’s wife, Ms Pac Man, is repeatedly heard referring to her husband using the nickname ‘paki’. The sound of Ms Pac Man saying ‘paki’ has been sampled and then edited into the sound design that inhabits the subsequent sections of the video, where slow and recursive animated sequences are cut to a dense and associative lyrical voiceover delivered by Pandhal. This part includes gameplay footage of Pandhal playing the browser-based game ‘Osamagotchi’, a game which oscillates between a torture simulator and a pet simulator. The final part shows Pandhal attempting to recall the names of his secondary school peers from an old class photo.