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


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


The first POROUS CITY is in Tippasandra.

What is happening now?


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


“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.