The 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.
The opening of ‘Spirited Caravans: re-imagining Bangalore’s outdoors’ met with quite an enthusiastic response from the city. We saw some hundred guests walk in and out, thanks everyone for dropping in! If you haven’t been able to come in yet, the exhibit is open till the 20th of July from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The exhibition system you see in the pictures has been designed by Meeta Jain at MapBee. It is a portable system which can be dismantled and be moved around the city across various open and partially open venues. The next site for the exhibition is being discussed and will be announced soon.
As unknown, invisible people, is it possible for us to imagine the city in a way, which is less alienating and fragmented? The exhibition looks at the role mobile spaces can play in doing this.
A showcase of design proposals for a mobile cultural space sent by artists and architects form around the world in response to an invitation extended by CitySpinning in January 2009. This process was initiated to understand some ways of using the existing infrastructure in the city in parasitic and symbiotic ways for a decentralized cultural program which is in the midst of where people live, work and play. As part of this process a mobile cultural space called the DOT is being designed.
A preview of the exhibition will be on view for the think-tank participants. The public opening of the exhibition is on the 12th of July at 4:00 p.m.
Does the city move or do you move around in the city? Maybe, its both. Our cities have become spaces which exude an impersonal, dry and functional energy. To feel at home here, we try to own a patch here and there to hide away, to console ourselves.
This glass, concrete and trash city in the process of becoming, has amassed an infrastructure, a grid which thinks its going to be there forever. Building possibilities which parasitically draws on this to create pockets of parallel realities, has been an interest shared by many people and groups throughout history (gypsies, street performers, circuses, melas). This exhibition proposes some ways of creating these parallel realities. These ways acknowledge the histories of this process but still position them in the world as it as now, with us being the way we are.
The exhibition has fantasies, fictions and journalistic accounts of seeing the city grow out of its indifference and comfortably wear her neighbourhoods as if they were something specific, the people living there having real names, motivations, dreams and aspirations which can be mapped. Spirited Caravans sees the city in a mood which is celebratory, uninhibited, musical and new (but old at the same time).
It is a good chance for cynics of all descriptions to forever lose their cynicism within clouds of possibility. It will give all of us ideas and energy to act upon them as well as maybe unshackle our imaginations from the city map, which reduces everything to a line and dot to actually be one of the dots and change the map forever in our memory.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to comment on aspects of the proposals, annotate in the margin, doodle on the side to guide and contribute to our design process.
Spirited Caravans features design proposals by:
Amrita Ravimohan & Ekta Idnany [Mumbai, India],
Azeer Attari & Dominic Anthony [Mumbai, India],
Benoît Maubrey [Brück, Germany],
Elina Moreau Braunstein [Sydney,Australia],
Harry Westbrook & Nash Colundular [London, UK],
Heron-Mazy Studio (J.P. Maruszczak & Roger Connah Asst: Ryan Manning) [USA],
Jelena Grujic and Lea Skrinjar [Novi Sad & Belgrade, Serbia],
Jimini Hignett [Amsterdam, The Netherlands],
Joao Caria Lopes [Lisbon, Portugal],
Joseph Choma [New York, USA],
Miguel Valério [Amsterdam, The Netherlands],
Nick Tobier (EverydayPlaces) [Detroit & Ann Arbor, USA],
Petar Bojovic & Slobodan Krsmanovic [Belgrade, Serbia],
The two day think tank, on the 10th and 11th July, 2009 will establish a basis for a contextual understanding of the role mobile cultural spaces can play in Indian cities. It will also give us a clearer idea of the actual uses and projects that will happen in the DOT and make the design assimilation exercise more concrete and rooted. The output of the workshop will be a short documentary. A preview of the Spirited Caravans: re-imagining Bangalore’s outdoors exhibition will also be on view for the think-tank participants. A public opening of the exhibition is on the 12th of July at 4:00 p.m.
Day 1: Mobile cultural spaces: perspectives, potentials and contexts
> Ten to fifteen artists, designers, thinkers, leaders and multi-disciplinary workers will briefly present their varied perspectives on the context and potential for mobile cultural spaces in Bangalore. An exhibition featuring numerous design proposals for a compact mobile cultural space for Bangalore will be opened at 6:00 p.m.
Day 2: Children & the City: the need, some possible ecosystems and potential uses.
> Ten to fifteen practitioners, educators, philosophers and other working with or for children in Bangalore from different vantage points will articulate how they would like to use a mobile cultural space in Bangalore. These articulations will be absorbed in the design assimilation process before the DOT is made and gifted to its potential users for their projects.
Venue: Protospace Bangalore, No. 6 MR Garden, 2nd cross KEB Layout, Sanjay Nagar, Bangalore 560094. Link to a map.
Background:Spirited Caravans was initiated as a process to determine how the existing infrastructure in the city could be used in parasitic and symbiotic ways for a decentralized cultural program which is in the midst of where people live, work and play and responds to them in a more direct way. As part of this process a mobile cultural space called the DOT is being designed.
The last few years has seen many efforts in Bangalore to expand the kinds of spaces cultural workers have available to them. We’ve seen the emergence of residency spaces (Bar1, 1shantiroad), artist-run galleries (Samuha), projects in the public spaces of Bangalore (numerous) and to say that there’s been interest among many groups (art, activist, community media…) to seek out alternative spaces which can play an active discursive, expressive and social role will not be a tall claim.
About DOT: The DOT is a mobile cultural space to be used for a diverse set of curated artistic and cultural projects proposed by the community of creative-practitioners and amateurs in Bangalore. It is conceived to be a compact (8’ X 15’) space which can allow small groups (10-15 people) to work on their projects. “Children and the city” will be the broad theme of the proposals selected for happening in the DOT in 2009. The theme will comprise of a series of sub-themes that relate children to urban farming, art education, theatre, craft, astronomy and night sky exploration and urban design. Uses for the DOT will be curated on their responses to these themes and other novel ideas.
Think Tank collaborators and supporters: The Mobility & Culture Think Tank 09 is being jointly organized by CitySpinning, MapBee, Qessencedesigns, Openspace India and Protospace Bangalore.
CitySpinning (initiator) is a series of interventions which propose different configurations and arrangements for social spaces in our cities. In the past interventions designed have dealt with urban farming, alternative cultural spaces, micro-climate research, food crisis, community spaces for street children and other areas. [you are here!]
MapBee in a new initiative, focused to help envision and facilitate the making of mobile architectural forms (including temporary, dismantleable & kinetic structures) suited to a specific cultural or social purpose, through use of relevant design and technology. > Website: http://mapbee.tumblr.com.
Q is working on a novel platform for the design and development of progressive educational toys for children.
Open Space India is an independent, interactive and creative public space where civil society organizations and public-spirited citizens can interact, debate and initiate action on social justice and development issues. > Website: http://openspaceindia.org/
Protospace Bangalore [http://protost.ation.in] is a “shared working space” for independent creative practitioners in the city. The idea is to bring diverse creative individuals under one roof, who in the midst of pursuing their creative goals, can also have a chance to share, and collaborate with each other. This is the first event being organized at the venue, and reflects its emerging curatorial programme.
In January this year CitySpinning invited design proposals for the DOT (Demonstrating Outdoor Tactics), a configuration for a mobile cultural space for Bangalore.
Proposals were short-listed in April and then every participant was requested to license their proposal under an open-content license before the entries were shared with the world on the web and soon through a print publication and exhibition.
All the proposals short-listed as part of the POROUS CITY process are presented below. More details about the mobile.culture publication will be available soon. All the proposals are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 India License [link].
An exhibition of the proposals and some texts on them is being planned in Bangalore in June (details soon). The DOT will actually be made through a two-part design workshop being planned with Meeta Jain where numerous architects, designers, imaginers and competition participants in India will talk and work together on a functional design for the streets of Bangalore.
The proposals follow:
Amrita Ravimohan & Ekta Idnany
From Mumbai, India for THE DOT MATRIX
Azeer Attari & Dominic Anthony
From Mumbai, India for KHEL: THE INTERACTIVE LEARNING CART
From Brück, Germany for CYBER-BIRDS
Elina Moreau Braunstein
From Sydney, Australia for PAVILION
Harry Westbrook & Nash Colundular
From London, UK for BODY SUIT
Heron-Mazy Studio, J.P. Maruszczak & Roger Connah & Asst: Ryan Manning
The Porous City call for proposals for designs of mobile cultural spaces received twenty-five submissions from eight countries.
From January 26-March 20th, the competition website had some 3,000 visitors from around the world. Numerous people sent asked questions and posted the call for proposals on their website.
Fifteen of the twenty-five proposals have been short-listed and will be published in a book in the next few weeks. The book will be released on the web-site and as a print-on-demand publication.
The short-listed teams will receive e-mails from CitySpinning soon (update, april 8th 09: this is in progress now, some of you might have already received e-mails).
Each short-listed team will be requested to license their submission under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 India License [link]. After that some images from the submitted proposals, commentary and more details will be posted here.
The short-listed teams are:
Amrita Ravimohan & Ekta Idnany [Mumbai, India]
Azeer Attari & Dominic Anthony[Mumbai, India]
Benoît Maubrey[Brück, Germany]
Elina Moreau Braunstein[Sydney,Australia]
Harry Westbrook & Nash Colundular[London, UK]
Heron-Mazy Studio (J.P. Maruszczak & Roger Connah Asst: Ryan Manning) [USA]
Jelena Grujic and Lea Skrinjar[Novi Sad & Belgrade, Serbia]
Jimini Hignett [Amsterdam, The Netherlands]
Joao Caria Lopes [Lisbon, Portugal]
Joseph Choma[New York, USA]
Miguel Valério[Amsterdam, The Netherlands]
Nick Tobier (EverydayPlaces)[Detroit & Ann Arbor, USA]
Petar Bojovic & Slobodan Krsmanovic [Belgrade, Serbia]
The steps after the short-list, the prize and the post-competition plan (towards getting the DOT on the street in Bengaluru / Bangalore) will also will be posted later next week.
For those who are interested, here are more statistics about the traffic at the competition website:
Inspite of all the traffic from within India I got only five proposals originating from India. So, either people got to know too late, were busy, lazy or un-motiviated. How do I motivate you, all my fellow citizens of India? This is happening in Bangalore, more local participation would have been great! Besides the web-site, posters were also put by friends and volunteers at numerous architecture and design school in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
A more general view of the Google Analytics dashboard of the competition web-site:
More updates soon. Thank you everyone for participating and your enthusiasm! CitySpinning will be announcing more competitions later this year.
“Porous City,” CitySpinning’s “effort of seeking out alternative cultural spaces” in Bangalore is seeking proposals for designs of “mobile cultural spaces.” The mobile cultural space (a mechanical vehicle we are calling THE DOT*) will be an adaptable space, which can respond to the different neighbourhoods it is parked in. It will be moved around Bengaluru, parked at each site^ for two weeks at a time.