City At Siege @ 1 shanthi road

Madhu D’s project at CitySpinning was shown at the 1 shanthi road gallery on the 28th and 29th (November 09).

The show, called “City At Siege” was a part of Suresh Jayram’s curatorial programme on art engaging with issues around Bangalore City’s development and was the first collaboration between CitySpinning and #1 Shanthi Road.

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Some photographs of the show:

Madhu D @ CitySpinning: walking through change and resistance

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Madhu D.

Madhu .D was away from Bangalore for six months and when he returned he couldn’t recognize his city. “The accelerated change and erasures are inevitable here, the city seems like a construction site, a battle ground of change and resistance, loss and hope. The unplanned chaos is unnerving; the change in landscape has left us with only real estate as a promise for the future. This is visual response to the absurdity of a city that is at siege, the moaning of loss and the mocking of a city that seems to be waking up late and has been caught napping.”

He has been in town for a few weeks and I met him co-incidentally near the Vishweshwarya Science Museum and we got talking. He described the following project to me and I invited him to do it as part of CitySpinning and Openspace India’s engagement with Bangalore city.

Project sketch:

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The above structure was made and carried around across Bangalore as a part of a performance. Some of the photographs strung up on the structure are:

Some pictures of the action:

Some pictures of the exhibition at 1 shanthi road:

Documentation of the performance was be exhibited at 1 shanthi road on the 28th November 09.

Reciprocating Memories: invited projects at the POROUS CITY site in Thippasandra

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Porous City @ Thippasandra invited artists and architects from Bangalore to respond to the site with project concepts. The following projects were developed across conversations with the artists, relating their projects to the space, context and the curatorial theme (to read more about these visit this post).

A summary of the invited projects and some images of each follows:

Places I Like II

16th to 20th September 09

Places I like, was a unique photo exhibition, presented by the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore. It comprised the outcome of an intensive workshop for Bangalore photo enthusiasts conducted by German photographer Stefan Koppelkamm, whose own photos were also exhibited under the title Ortszeit/Local Time at the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan.

The objective of this workshop was to define the personal criteria that determine the »quality of life« in a city. The focus was more on the routine and normal, rather than the unusual. Social aspects of the city – neighbourliness, the presence of smaller stores and cottage industries – that are not immediately discernible to outsiders were more important than outstanding architecture or excellent design.

The current exhibition is a small selection of the original exhibition. Tailor made for the venue.

The places portrayed in this exhibition are as diverse as the city itself: They include bustling markets or shopping centres such as KR market, secluded and peaceful areas such as the Someshwara Temple in Ulsoor, Charles Correa’s Jeevan Bima Nagar One of the photographers portrayed his favourite hangouts, the famous Koshy’s in St. Marks Road.

Participating photographers:

>> ANIRUDDHA GHOSH: KOSHY’S
>> JYOTHY KARAT: AROUND CITY MARKET
>> KUSUM DHAR PRABHU: SOMESHWARA TEMPLE
>> PEEYUSH SEKHSARIA: JEEVAN BIMA NAGAR

Some pictures of the exhibition:


Crack It

12th to 20th September 09

Artists: Markus Tauber and Dina Boswank

Artist’s statement (text by Markus Tauber): Can an island for children be created in Bangalore. Developing a playground with children for children.

–  Questions

  • Where children can find places of safe heaven in a high dense city like Bangalore?
  • What kind of places of refuge do children need? What is the nature of these places?
  • What does it mean to give children –  rich or poor- a home in a fast changing town like Bangalore? (Home is understood as an abstract quality that depends on many conditions outside the physical structure itself)
  • Do people and children in Bangalore live more and more socially isolated -especially in the outskirts of the town?
  • What is the childhood like under different social conditions? When the childhood ends and adult life begins? Do children have to work or do they have to learn the whole day? When do children have to start their career according to their patents opinion? Which part of the day is free for the child’s own activity, for playing etc.?

Activities (summary by Prayas):

  • Dina and Markus developed a story together with the children from the neighbourhood. Then they made many of the characters from the story into small clay objects.
  • Then they went to the park across the POROUS CITY site and with rope and newspaper created a installed landscape of the story they had written along with the children and the parents of the neighbourhood. The installation of the new playground was temporary and was dismantled after a day. No special permission was needed to put up the structures in the park.

Some Photographs:


Old Hindi Film Song Stories

August 22nd 09

Artists: Maraa (http://maraa.in)

Introduction (Text by Maraa): Old Hindi film songs can never go out of style! Memories of growing up and stories of songs from 1958 (or 1965 or 1973), memories of stars and films, pretty faces and emotions, memories of listening to it over and over on radio… memories of the cities and towns and countrysides one grew up in… and for some others, memories of their mothers and fathers, brothers and uncles sampling and relishing these wonderful melodies Here’s the chance and space to share your old hindi song story!

Summary: The event saw an enthusiastic mix of old hindi film music enthusiasts from the city and some from the neighbourhood come together and share music, stories and trivia. A few spontaneous singing sessions happened as well. Members of some virtual networks which are involved with hindi film music also came and appreciated what the act of physical meeting up added.

Some photographs:

Palaver

4th to 6th September 09

Artist: Dina Boswank

Artist’s statement (Text by Dina Boswank): Come whisper, talk, shout, yell, rustle, smirk, susurrate, backbite, laugh, chatter and twitter. In some months there will live new inhabitants in this house. Their noises, laughters and words will be hearable through ventilation shafts, windows and doors. Yet, they are fictitious ghostly voices. But in these moments when the unfinished building will be a place for various people to meet and create a public space, the sonic ambiance will hopefully change. The installation plays with both imaginations – an atmosphere of overlaying and not clearly locatable noises and voices will be there to listen to and is as well created by the people itself.

Palaver used a nice child toy – a tin can telephone. But instead of using metal cans there were 15 plastic buckets, as used in every Indian household, spread over the place. Strings connected all of them, so that you could hear the echo of words spoken into one of them at every single bucket.

A network of ear conches and mics crosses both levels. Everyone could whisper, scream, sing quietly or ask in each bucket and react on the voices of other people he could understand.

Some photographs:

Fourth Cross

18th September 09

Artists: Srishti Theatre Group

Fourth Cross was a site-specific play. Artists notes:

“Be careful where you step in this ruin. Things have happened here before. They say, “the house took them.” An interactive mystery with surreal characters brought together by tales of old broken down house.

Some photographs:


Rewind Replay, playing forgotten games, 3rd-9th September 09

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The idea for Rewind Replay was shared by Deepak Srinivasan at Maraa and Rashmi Gopal. Deepak took me along to meet Rashmi and after talking, playing and drinking tea together, we decided to host these playing sessions.

Then Meeta and Pallavi met Rashmi, set the dates and the got the playing sessions happening.

When: 3rd to 9th September, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Facilitation: Pallavi Chander, Meeta Jain and others

Introductory note (by Meeta): Navakankari, Choka bara, Aadu huli aata still rings a familiar bell to many inhabitants of Bangalore. These were the broad games that still exist as living traditions in many parts of the state but are fast disappearing from the world of a typical urban kid. Often these were played in outdoor and semi outdoors spaces. The underlying grid gets drawn onto the available ground which soon transforms to becoming a fascinating landscape of entities like seeds, shells, dices, stones, beads et all , traversing it till the game gets over.

By employing the simple means for these games as the use of the” available” and the “natural’, lends us a potential to inculcate a certain sensibility over and above its pure leisure value. The children will revisit their neighborhood and search for varied materials to create their own means to play these games. Bringing these games back we also relook and reinforce the idea of play amongst groups younger and older alike, as an act of connecting in outdoors and common spaces. Later this can also lead to inhabitants appropriating/fashioning their parks and other common zones to include these games as footprints translated onto the terrain.

Photographs of Rewind Replay:


CitySpinning in Time Out Bangalore, August 09

tom_logoThe current issue of Time Out Bangalore carries a story by Jaideep Sen on the numerous community-art projects in the city which engage with public spaces in different ways. It features a lot of CitySpinning‘s ongoing work, especially the invitation I and my friends had extended earlier this year to artists and architects to visualize mobile cultural spaces for Bangalore. The proposals short-listed were then part of an exhibition in July. The story also mentions Spirited Caravans, the collaborative form which the mobile space effort has taken and the ongoing camp at Thippasandra.

Read the story here: link or download it here.

Other projects featured in the story are Jaaga, Blind Boys and also Protospace (a co-working space I have initiated with Meeta Jain).

Mathinahalli: Playing With Stories, a festival of exchange from 26-30 August 09

mathinahalliWHEN: 26-30th August 09

Mathinahalli: playing with stories was a festival of exchange and mutual gestures designed to document the neighbourhood’s stories about childhood, play and the city at large. These stories will help in capturing the evolution and dynamism in the way the residents of the neighbourhood have played in the spaces around them across generations.

At Mathinahalli, visitors could eat (choco cookies and lemonade), get quick beauty fixes (hair braiding, temp tattoos, face painting), get themselves sketched, learn craft and art skills and audition for a film in exchange for sharing their stories and experiences. The interest was in creating an archive of stories from the neighbourhood which dealt with play and playspaces. My attempt was to create this archive in a way which also served as a demonstration of mechanisms of intangible exchange, barter and gift economies.

Concept: Prayas Abhinav (with numerous contributions from the particpants of Eating Value)

Facilitation: Prayas Abhinav, Tanvi Srivastava and Alisha Panjwani

Some photographs of Mathinahalli (from 26-30 August 09):

Eating Value: exchange economics in the neighbourhood

The Eating Value workshop happened at the Porous City camp at a construction site in Thippasandra. Eating Value was a way of opening up concepts of the economy, value and entrepreneurship for children through food, exchange and storytelling.

The workshop in-turn led to Mathinahalli: Playing With Stories, a festival of exchange from 26-30 August 09 at the same site.

Some photographs of day 1: archiving neighborhood stories:


Some photographs of day 2: imagining exchanges

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Stepping into Thippasandra, expanding the porous city

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The physical act of occupying a vacant construction site in a residential neighborhood is seen like setting up a basecamp in a forest,

  • ACT 1: cleaning, clearing
  • ACT 2: fencing, bridging
  • ACT 3: locating water and energy source
  • ACT 5: space marking elements , green veil, installing the space kit

During this exercise of habitation we also intend to explore what a concrete columnar structure offers in terms of pure physical space experience, and the number of ways one can use and humanize it.

Actors: Meeta Jain, Krishna Aiyar and Prayas Abhinav

Some photographs:

DOT in Tippasandra, a neighbourhood play camp (Aug-Sep 09)

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What is Demonstrating Outdoor Tactics (DOT)?

The DOT (Demonstrating Outdoor Tactics) is a configuration for a mobile cultural space for Bangalore. It will be used for a diverse set of curated artistic and cultural projects proposed by the community of creative-practitioners and amateurs in Bangalore.


Station 1: A construction site in a residential neighbourhood

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The first station in the journey of DOT in Bangalore in in Tippasandra.


What is happening now?

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Key concepts, ideas and explorations: idea of play (spontaneous, planned), interactive and performative activities (set within neighbourhood contexts), expressions of space making/transforming (camp site, new spaces in house/yards/unused), expression through writings (fiction/knowledge generation/cultural diary), about the neighbourhood ecosystem (exploring representation, drawings, photographing, recording etc.), living systems (garbage/toilet related), nature of open spaces.


Notes about the context

Unemployed plots of land dream of things that they can do, how they can look, forms they can take. When they are actively traded and utilized in the market and society, only a narrow range of functions get performed on them. They, on the other hand remain unfilled. The markets binds the land in the roles it wants it to play.This construction site in Thippasandra’s residential neighbourhood belongs to the University Women’s Association, Bangalore (UWAB). The site is temporarily unemployed as the project requires a further infusion of money. UWA is currently working at raising funds to soon be able to resume construction again. In its current state of being temporarily unoccupied, it is dreaming of the roles it can play in the neighbourhood.

The DOT’s being at this site across August and September 09, will be a kind of nomadic urban camping ground, a space which offers refuge, platform, visibility and possibility to a range of conversations initiated by artists, activists, architects, researchers and others. In a way, it is channeling the dreams which the space might have dreamed of and giving form and language to them in different ways.


Curatorial Theme: Children And The City

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“Children and the city” is the broad theme of the proposals selected for happening in the DOT in 2009. The theme emerged out of conversations about children and their perceptions of the city. As a part of this theme we hope to demonstrate some processes in which children can be more than mute, passive spectators and actually have an active dialog with the city. In a way, the concept of child rights is being re-looked and the ideals they have embedded in forms which find an expression in our everyday lives.

Adult citizens are able to organize themselves in lobbies to shape the city in the direction of their convenience. Children are mostly not represented in this process. How can their needs and imaginations find articulation in urban forms and designs? How deeply can they shape their own modes and mechanisms of representation with adults only as friends and facilitators and not necessarily the intermediaries?

Play, self-learning, communication, exchange and ways to facilitate their own desires are going to be the key concepts shared amongst most of the projects as a part of the DOT (demonstrating outdoor tactics) in August.

The DOT process is trying to explore how negotiation and mutuality as values can open up spaces to cultural practices which maybe do not just address their niche and limited audiences but converse more actively with the neighbourhood they are situated in.

 

Porous City in Tippasandra, a neighbourhood play camp (Aug 20-Sep 20 09)

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What is Porous City?

POROUS CITY sees the city of flows obstructions also as a city of accidents, shadows, parallel realities, diversity, fiction and imagination.

Across this year POROUS CITY is practicing different ways of experiencing, sharing and articulating these realities. These ways will be of writing, performances, walks and interventions.

There is a lot of theory about space and the identified spaces we give names and call places. Spaces are the locative anchors for memory and history, which goes to say that most of our memories of our cities as they were consists of spatial snapshots of places. Space is a multi-dimensional entity – where invisible things lurk and memory is just one of those invisible things. Restaurants, gardens, neighbourhoods. The city of flows finds it very difficult to change with the “anchors of memories” weighing it down. Performative dreaming about what our cities and neighbourhoods can be is what POROUS CITY is about.

A “cultural space” is any space which is temporarily open to expressions and performances of different kinds. A space which doesn’t place barriers in the meeting of people with people – across hierarchies and boundaries. And, I think to be inspired people go where there is a possibility for a rich inter-mingling of people. And sometimes there is a vacuum – there are few spaces which play this role.

In POROUS CITY, I am trying to map the kinds of alternative and temporary spaces available in this city for cultural action of all kinds.


Station 1: A construction site in a residential neighbourhood

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The first POROUS CITY is in Tippasandra.


What is happening now?

home4

Key concepts, ideas and explorations: idea of play (spontaneous, planned), interactive and performative activities (set within neighbourhood contexts), expressions of space making/transforming (camp site, new spaces in house/yards/unused), expression through writings (fiction/knowledge generation/cultural diary), about the neighbourhood ecosystem (exploring representation, drawings, photographing, recording etc.), living systems (garbage/toilet related), nature of open spaces.


Notes about the context

Unemployed plots of land dream of things that they can do, how they can look, forms they can take. When they are actively traded and utilized in the market and society, only a narrow range of functions get performed on them. They, on the other hand remain unfilled. The markets binds the land in the roles it wants it to play.This construction site in Thippasandra’s residential neighbourhood belongs to the University Women’s Association, Bangalore (UWAB). The site is temporarily unemployed as the project requires a further infusion of money. UWA is currently working at raising funds to soon be able to resume construction again. In its current state of being temporarily unoccupied, it is dreaming of the roles it can play in the neighbourhood.

The POROUS CITY site’s being at this site across August and September 09, will be a kind of nomadic urban camping ground, a space which offers refuge, platform, visibility and possibility to a range of conversations initiated by artists, activists, architects, researchers and others. In a way, it is channeling the dreams which the space might have dreamed of and giving form and language to them in different ways.


Curatorial Theme: Children And The City

child2

“Children and the city” is the broad theme of the proposals selected for happening at POROUS CITY in 2009. The theme emerged out of conversations about children and their perceptions of the city. As a part of this theme we hope to demonstrate some processes in which children can be more than mute, passive spectators and actually have an active dialog with the city. In a way, the concept of child rights is being re-looked and the ideals they have embedded in forms which find an expression in our everyday lives.

Adult citizens are able to organize themselves in lobbies to shape the city in the direction of their convenience. Children are mostly not represented in this process. How can their needs and imaginations find articulation in urban forms and designs? How deeply can they shape their own modes and mechanisms of representation with adults only as friends and facilitators and not necessarily the intermediaries?

Play, self-learning, communication, exchange and ways to facilitate their own desires are going to be the key concepts shared amongst most of the projects as a part of POROUS CITY in August.

The POROUS CITY process is trying to explore how negotiation and mutuality as values can open up spaces to cultural practices which maybe do not just address their niche and limited audiences but converse more actively with the neighbourhood they are situated in.

CHECK THIS PAGE FOR MORE DETAILS FOR PROJECTS HAPPENING ACROSS AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 09 in THIPPASANDRA.