Friday, September 02, 2005

artisans villages and a miserable jury

the sad state of architectural education on the city was apparent to me when i had gone for a jury to the “sir” jj school of architecture yesterday. a third year jury. the project i am embarrassed to say is 20 times the size of our vasai fort project. an artisans village, if you please.. these workers working always like prisoners in a camp making pretty things for the consumptions of tourists. 150 of these drones flown in from all over the country- like a theme park of culture- working away for the benefit of “our rich and varied cultural identity”. this strange construct of a national identity that relegates cultural differences to being items in a shop; that reduces the lives and histories of people to just another item on the shelf; that treats art like it lies outside the realm of real life and therefore peripheralizes its creation to mountain tops overlooking suitably pristine water bodies. will we ever question these? or will we pander to the most ludicrous of bureaucratic nonsense. a ministry of culture sitting somewhere in lutyens delhi deciding to collect appropriate marginal cultures by marginalizing them and simultaneously engulfing them.

it was truly difficult, trying to be fair to the rather adorable students, when we could not agree with even the basic premise of the project. even if we were able to put aside our own predispositions, there is only so many times that i can talk about an organization diagram. is that all architecture is supposed to be? ‘aesthetically pleasing” efficient form? i believe not. so i fought. and so did pinkish, and samira and manoj. all us krvia-ites swooped down on the poor kids and tore into them. i felt really bad, becasue there were some beautiful sincere kids.. trying so hard. so committed, so serious. i wish our students had even half these guys energy and seriousness.. the possibilities… the possibilities…

after the jury as i was waiting for amit to pick me up, so that we could go to ghatkopar, i was talking to vidya who teaches there on the brick podium near the new building. we discussed the difficulties of teaching at jj. its hulking monolithic nature as an institution, its stagnancy, the claustrophobia that sets into anyone who spends enough time there.. i am afraid of what might happen to krvia with all the new paperwork that seems to rule our lives too.

1 comment:

Mayur said...

hi rohan....long time....been reading ur blog rather religiously...keeps me up with news in school and mumbai....its amazing how schools everywhere seem to be dealing with the same dillema of conscientious (aprdon my spelling ability) students and absurd programs....i am sort of getting used to the bureaucracy and insaneness that is american architectural education...tho i cant generalize it that much...but its fun going to hong kong and shanghai for my new studio project in a few days...yipeeee!!....will hopefully produce something to talk about....sad to hear about mumbai and ur office after the floods...hope its all getting better!