Saturday, January 31, 2009

driving down the ramp at nariman point

the black skyscraper / performative urbanism / shiro

at nariman point we rose from the basement where the water of the sea is let in to diffuse the pressure of the tides, where a printing press still works over weekends and where the massive machinery of the building creates a spectacular sculpture; to the ground floor from where large ramps rise up above the podium of parking and services, to the first floor lobbies with the riverine floor and weed like landscape of tiles on the walls; shooting through the middle floors with gardens and lawns that rise up into the black square tower and from where the trident that icon of the 26/11 rises and at the core of the building where few remnants of the original lobbies with the dark brown mosaic floor, the tile clad walls and that landscape like false ceiling still remain, to the roof sidestepping the spectacular apartment and burrowing through the service core that sits like a box on the tower full of service rooms and storages and at the end the roofless room at the top where pigeons perch on the skyline and views of the city spread out on all sides. it is like rising through trees in a forest into the sky.
and that was the day before.

yesterday sophie wolfrum from munich spoke of ‘performative urbanism’ at the udri mumbai lounge and i found echoes of interest with bodies transcribing spaces and tools of mapping that emerge from subjective readings of the city. i was discussant and tried to ground the issues in the landscape of this city.

later at dinner, shiro is overdone oriental kitsch in a spectacular space. a high ceiling roof truss jam packed with buddha statues, red dangling lights and tassels.

Monday, January 26, 2009

two videos

the roof at vasai and the new drive back home, now that the thakur flyovers are complete

happy birthday ajay

slumdog millionare

am back from watching the film that everyone has an opinion on and if i am trying not to echo what everyone has said already there is nothing much to say. bishakha, kuntal, ajay, have all said it before so i shrugged my shoulders largely agreeing with them. i liked the music only when it was not a r rehman (m.i.a.’s paper planes) and the acting when it wasn’t dev patel or freida pinto (the kids) and the camerawork when it wasn’t gawking at spectacular spectacular or rushing around in jerky diagonals for frenetic effect (which was very rare). there is no point in picking at the implausible story, hindi films cant claim much as far as realism go anyway but when they choreograph and song and dance they know how to do it right. railway stations are good sets for dances- remember urmila in 'rangeela'?.. 'jai ho' does not cut it. it takes more flair.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

kaushik's garden in vasai

kaushik's garden in vasai is one of the most beautiful places i have been to; even though it is not yet complete..

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

big day on the mall

the news channel proclaim a new messiah to save the world from financial doom, the man in question plays his part to the hilt. the speech attempts rousing crescendos and sound-bites that have repeat value and ends up as rhetoric heard many times before. to use a tacky metaphor, the flame of my cynicism fanned by the hot words of too much chomsky :) makes me raise an eyebrow and wonder whether the grand hope being proclaimed merely because the man is black? or is the change going to be more substantial?

toy trucks

new at j b nagar, andheri

from chaitanya towers, worli

high rises in the mill lands rising whose plinth and parking is the height of the chawls around. we saw 'kalpana' a student film made by a young kid in the screening room at the club this sunday. the film was strictly ok but the location breathtaking and disturbing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

vakola under construction

off the main road cabbage fields turn into housing like this

charles correa in navi mumbai

the artists village at its most intimate public scale and kapas bhavan at the most public scale

bye potu

the real film city

is in the back streets of the mhada colonies in lokhandwala with dance classes, recording studios and screening rooms. we were there to see 'bara anna' in which three men in a slum arrive upon a fool-proof way to make some extra cash.