Kochi Muziris Biennale – On Stage Sathenagar Here 2016
In collaboration with Samooha (Santosh Thorat, Jameela Begam, Vyjayanthi Rao, Manisha Agarwal, Aparajita Basu, Anand Patel, Shantanu Poredi)
Project Type : Exhibition Design
Location : Kochi, Kerala, India
Client : Kochi Muziris Biennale
Project Status : Exhibition from Dec 2016 – Mar 2017
Project Area : 5600 sqft
Design Team : Shantanu Poredi, Manisha Agarwal, Akshay Aditya, Kunal Mokasdar, Jahanavi Kakar, Chintan Gala
Bamboo Contractor : Thumb Impressions Collaborative
Samooha is an informal, interdisciplinary team of seven, including two community leaders from Sathenagar, four practicing architects and a cultural anthropologist specializing in urban studies. Drawing on ethnographic research on informal urban cultures, our project imagines the city itself as a studio – as an actor within the work of art and as an element that enables the work of art to emerge as such.
With artists from Sathenagar, one of Mumbai’s largest ‘informal’ communities’, Samooha have created On Stage: Sathenagar Here, an architectural installation for a series of performances, visual and discursive events about the nature of life, work and culture in informal community settings. On Stage recalls experiences of space and creative place making practices encountered in Sathenagar, focusing on the principles of self-reliance, self-expression and self-making as they find their way into new visions for transforming society.
This project is a partial formulation of a year-long process of interaction between members of the Samooha team and the residents of Sathenagar. On Stage is therefore an emerging, evolving and performative structure whose audiences will encounter variations in form and content, sometimes subtle and sometimes palpable but always artful, throughout the Biennale.
Mirroring the growth of Sathenagar, we began with shelter and settlement, setting up a dialogue between the aesthetic principles of formal architectural practices and informal cultures of building, crafting and making. We modelled the physical and emotional terrains of Sathenagar – its landscapes – as representations of what exists and as projections of hoped for transformations. From this collaborative process of modelling, Samoohahas created an interactive installation, reflecting Sathenagar’s spatial conditions and experiences in a by-lane that leads from one of Fort Kochi’s main thoroughfares to the seafront promenade. This installation is animated with audio, video and photographic materials created by residents of Sathenagar to address the world they will encounter at the Biennale.It serves as a stage within the larger stage of the Biennale to explore how one might relocate flows of language, heritage, tradition and practice embedded tacitly in every life into this self-conscious space for exploring creativity. The bamboo frame is an incubator, a mechanism to organize and orchestrate open-ended possibilities for collective engagement created in a material that initiates settlement in informal communities across India.