Vimana Tale, flying vehicles from Sanskrit epics


Imagined technologies from the past, especially those formulated as fantastic tales, can be compared to many prototypes assembled in the 20th century and never produced. Artist Tania Candiani has investigated an Indian text (Vaimanika Shastra) on aerospace technology, mentioning “Vimana” advanced aerodynamic flying vehicles, described in ancient Sanskrit epics. In the context of the historical transfer of technologies between India and the Chinese region, she has tried to recreate one of these vehicles hiring a Taiwanese traditional flying lantern craftsman. The flying is enacted in a video piece, which reflects the prediction of travelling at the ‘speed of the wind and gave forth a melodious sound’. The form of the built Vimana is reminiscent of current drones, which also fit with the description. But the artist chose not to consider Vimana as a visionary prophecy, but an intense vision, and to give it a physical form accordingly.


Tania Candiani – Vimana