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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gurgaon: Shock & Awe


By Marina Correa
Photography: Courtesy the architects


Workshop in process at Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai
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The soon-to-conclude Architectural exhibition Gurgaon Glossaries at the Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai, has over the last fortnight stood ground as a serious stratum for discussions on urban developmental issues via its in-depth illustrative study of satellite city Gurgaon…

Three fierce urbanites and then architects - Prasad Shetty, Prasad Khanolkar and Rupali Gupte have thrown up startling revelations via images and lexicon relating to Gurgaon, a full-fledged city southwest of Delhi, which has been transformed from a sleepy village into a metropolis in an unprecedented span of time. Their dissection exposes the vulnerable substructure of Gurgaon, via their art work titled Gurgaon Glossaries.

Gloss and glamour of high rises and gated communities
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Metaphorically, the exhibit is a central setting of a funky table display with red tables supporting blue, yellow and pink chairs that invite viewers to sit down and browse through a glossary of over 100 compiled terms. Colourful boxes are placed with stack cards describing words like ‘avashyakta hai’, ‘abadi and non-abadi areas’, ‘millennium city’, ‘monkey catchers’ that have randomly sprouted similar to the city’s unchecked development. Plastered on the walls are photos that capture the essence of the city’s incongruent rise to glory.

Developer’s advt. luring a city to be born and nurtured
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Shocking images juxtapose skyscrapers with large, uncovered pits that attract cows and pigs; buildings running on generators only; septic tanks as garbage disposal units, parking lots doubling up as broker meeting joints or chaiwalla stalls… a telling tale of a city grown up too quickly sans checks and balances.

Exhibit at Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai
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The method adopted has been at grass root level; where the triumvirate have interacted with, lived in and breathed in the city, feeling the vibes, connecting to stories and dissecting basic elements ­­-- water, electricity, garbage, security, food etc -- to unravel malpractices.

Advertisements for migrant accommodations at Gurgoan
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Incidentally, this art work goes beyond and spotlights simmering issues that can explode into an ugly fiasco, if not tackled soon. Yet, the focus is subtle rather than in-the-face and circumvents hard-hitting contextual references; coming off instead as limpid study material. Shouldn't the people who matter, be looking?

The paradoxes of a new urban settlement
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Venue: Mumbai Art Gallery
Dates: Feb.15 – Mar.9, 2013
Timings: Tuesday – Saturday; 11am – 7pm
Open to all

Security in style
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