on the other hand in the 6th day the
Monday, April 30, 2007
on the other hand in the 6th day the
Friday, April 27, 2007
the bandra reclamation park from where you can see the skyline of the city and the bridge over the water being built.
kaifi azmi park closer to the college which regulates movement of people using one way signs. a park even more restrictive than a prison. the soup outside in the mornings is divine.
in hsiao-hsien hou’s ‘goodbye south, goodbye’ i was thankful that for a change we got to see a more contemporary chinese landscape. aimlessly wandering through
Thursday, April 26, 2007
after two continuous days of slogging my way through tedious and mundane design projects- first municipal markets in Bombay and villages in kerala and then rural hospitals in panvel and malls in mahim; i needed a shot of some esoteric art. i was feeling particularly ambitious when i picked sokurovs ‘russian ark’. the last film i had seen of his was ‘mother and son’ whose distorted images had almost put me to sleep.
‘russian ark’ is a high wire act as a film. a single shot over 90 minutes long that traces the whole of russian cultural history through the ‘hermitage’- a museum in
somewhere between nationalistic propaganda and a promotional video tour of the museum the film neatly sidesteps, or only off-hand mentions 80 years of communist history. the attempt seems to be stake claim to cultural equivalence to europes finest by exhuming the golden age of a classical past- so much like our own urge to recreate an idealized past to deny the humiliations of colonialism.
it is unfortunate that because of this all the great art and cultural production of the avant-garde like the russian constructivists are left out of the picture. the time slot chosen is such that the controversial recent past is denied, making the films formal gymnastics merely diverting- a surface for us to feast on so that we believe that technical virtuosity is cutting edge art cinema. if it is ‘the hermitage’ that is the eponymous ark saving russian culture from the storms of the soviet era, it seems to be an extraordinarily reactionary position to adopt for a film maker who sees himself as a revolutionary auteur.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
and this is only one of the many crazy thesis successes this year. the first being of course namrata's win of the national thesis competition for her old peoples home; and tara's mahim nature park project winning the international conference for humane habitat competition. mayuri came third in that competition.
this time on the 7th floor in bandra with projects that numbed my brain. the only thing i could see in the projects were toilets. a rural hospital in dahanu and a cultural center in jaipur. all the kids drew tree like circulation diagrams and then went ahead and made them one storied buildings. no matter what the context was these projects were completely self referential. it was not even as if they were particularly well resolved as far as bubble diagrams went. and after the organisation was set roof shapes (read as pitched in dahanu) and façade treatment (read as arches in jaipur) paid lip service element design contextualism towards the sites. and when the projects ended up being this uninspiring the only thing i could do was make sure that the student at least knew how to make toilets.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
muddy thumping vast rock songs with propelling drums and guitars about city life, religion and disenchantment.
amy winehouse – back to black
a young woman with a lovely voice who sings about love, independence and loss like she has had years of experience in all three.
el-p – i’ll sleep when i am dead
hip-hop with layers and layers to sift through, most rather grubby and the reason why i can listen to it over and over again is the sudden beauty in between the twisted lyrics and hooks. an exception to my hip hop phobia.
lcd soundsystem - sound of silver
when new age dance music meets the rock of the eighties the beats do not stop- and nor do the feet. welcome to the party.
sondre lerche - two way monologue
pretty sad boy songs, sung in a half spoken half sung accented drawl that breaks into gorgeous melodies at the choruses.
tom waits - orphans: brawlers, bawlers and bastards
three cd set of a jaw dropping range of genre from standard folk tunes to rock and country; even to the dangerous territory of spoken word ditties; a house of horrors of sorts, with waits spitting, moaning, drawling and wailing out images of dark strange places and people. rarely have i seen a nightmare this wonderful.
tom waits - orphans: brawlers, bawlers and bastards
on the beach rollers and stamps made intricate patterns of garbage only to be washed away with the tide,
and strange objects blew bubbles and popped out of the sand (almost).
the av room was turned into a night sky with a cloud of delicate and pretty lights from the beach,
in the darkness of a lecture room you found fans, lights and bubbles enveloping you.
it was a lovely day whose perpetual movement was only disturbed by another child’s mother pleading for us to forgive her sons lies and laziness by throwing medical certificates and tears.
as if it were not enough for us to spend the whole day thinking and talking about the beach; after the jury we sat at sea view for beer before ninad me got us a beach massage with fireworks exploding above our heads.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
The first of the four university juries that I have been assigned was the furthest. All the way to panvel to look at a class of 38 of which we did 30. our fellow jurors seemed to not want to take the long ride to the southernmost point of new
It was along day and we finally got done at around 5 and I drove back in a rush all the way to Andheri for tanays birthday celebrations opposite infiniti mall. the ‘party hall’- essentially a slightly larger room than most with a toilet attached and some fancy lighting was decorated with balloons- black, white and red. A lisping emcee propelled us all willingly and unwillingly to make complete asses of ourselves playing silly party games. ping pang pong / make your group into a circle, square, z/ lower and lower the bar / divorce, marriage/ proposal... and in the middle of it all the emcee goes "i will make you.................OUT!".. the silliness went on and on. it was great fun as we relinquished the responsibility of being sensible and made complete asses of ourselves. he made us do it. he gave us a license to be ridiculous.. by being slightly ridiculous himself. fun.
Friday, April 20, 2007
the first being the cinemax at the growels mall with the landmark glass globe just off the highway at kandivili. the best space must be the sunken courtyard from where we can see cars on the highway above you; and the strange empty silence that’s all around you. one tree wrapped in strips of light gives you company. the food court is largely vegetarian unfortunately except for the frankie joint, and the lobby of the theater has this gorgeous green glass cladding. the details are not as tacky as they could be. they largely seem to follow the logic of the plan unlike the random shapes of lets say raghuleela.
the second, the refurbished metro theater does not completely annihilate the art deco detailing, but rather replicates most of it in the lobby in stainless steel and italian marble. the chandeliers are still the same and the food counter is in back lighted onyx marble. its all very posh and very expensive.
of the two i must say i preferred the kandivili multiplex, only because the theater hall itself was spectacularly large, and the sound at metro was awful.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
simultaneous to this is the middle class denial of the violence within and the great retreat into thicker and more impenetrable shells. when a korean kid runs riot in an american university the big push in not towards ridding the streets of guns but towards making higher compound walls. maybe it’s a male thing. in the photographs that cho sends nbc, making himself into a freely distributable media image he dons military fatigues, a crew cut and stares into the camera like the hero of an action film. his glare towards the camera, the symmetrical frames, the gun pointing directly at you are carefully (re)constructed from remembered fragments of a heavily loaded visual culture. real life is dictated by the mythologies of live televised wars, computer games and film.
after a long meeting- from 11.30 to 5.30 discussing the finer points of the policy recommendations to be sent to the government regarding cess and slum areas the schism between urban planning and urban design was apparent. the fundamental premise of the pilot studies was that a ‘precinct wise development could consolidate infrastructure and open spaces, making sense of the staccato and fragmented development currently in full swing in the city. somehow it could bridge the gap between the ‘good’ for the city and private interests. and as a design strategy it worked. when that had to be translated into policy we came to a serious roadblock. how can the varied strategies that emerged for the redevelopment/ renewal / protection of areas become generalisable in some way?
policy seems to be framed in a non-geographical space. it knows no specifics and therefore refuses to make exceptions, except through long winded amendments. i kept thinking that if on the other hand geography or space became the framework for the framing of policy as against the exceptions to the rule, there might be a way to resolve this conflict.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
and before that, since i was early, i drove around in town and then walked about for a while in hanging gardens and kamla nehru park. it was an overcast and muggy evening.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
on sv road the new malls near the station. calling them 'malls' is pushing it, really. more like shopping centers whose flat facades change the scale of the shopping street completely.
thakur cinema, kandivili - where aluminum composite cladding makes aztec or is it egyptian references- or maybe art deco?
the new oberoi mall and office complex on the highway. frosted glass facade and a white hulk and behind it the skeletal frame for i assume an all glass prism
the first large shopping complex on link road- sub kucch- built when mind space was still a stinking dump. no alucobond here
inorbit mall whose massive facade is broken up into what i assume is imagined to be 'human' scale with a variety of alucobond volumes- all in grey. very austere. :)
housing at lokhandwala. massive frame within frame. white to a dark green inside. rounded edges making a chasm in between
from shoppers stop juhu the new sra scheme across the naala
watsons hotel in kalaghoda whose heritage iron frame has been taken over by the tenants whims and fancies
on d n road the grand entranceway above the arcade is being formed by the skirts of these stern sword bearing guards
stock exchange catches the evening light on the glass edge