R and R, March 2016–ongoing
R and R is a centre for artistic and intellectual activity located amid the slum resettlement colony of Lallubhai Compound. It opened on March 20, 2016 and operates out of a rebuilt shed located on the eastern edge of the metropolis.
The name of the centre is a play on R&R, a policy acronym for Resettlement and Rehabilitation. R&R is a state-run programme to resettle slum dwelling families that are affected by large infrastructure projects.
In the past ten years, more than 50,000 families have been displaced from their original locations around the city and resettled in densely packed neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city. While such large-scale resettlement is not new, the experiences of the 70s—when similar numbers were displaced on account of an early resettlement drive—show that such neighbourhoods typically take a long time to ‘settle’. This happens, for the most parts, because displacement of the sort results in the loss of original networks, which are so vital for urban communities.
Riffing off the policy jargon, R and R comes into its own through its many permutations including Rest and Relax, Research and Rethink, Roots and Renewals, Read and Recite, and Rock and Roll. These reinterpretations then become the broad thrusts for its programming.
At the opening event, R and R was introduced, to a gathering of over 100 attendees from the Compound, through a programme that included readings of poems by Daya Pawar, Narayan Surve and Namdeo Dhasal.
As part of the first phase of its programming, R and R is currently hosting a series of events, workshops and studios that address and develop the elements of the centre, with the garden and library as current focuses.
In the case of the library, discussions have been had, calls for contribution have gone out, a broad focus in people’s histories has been realised and live translations (English to Marathi) of literary classics and pages from the Tell Me Why series, among others, are taking place periodically.
As for the garden outside R and R, discussions with children and youth and adults from Sindhu Society have been held. The collective desires that emerged from these sessions—combined with discussions with experts—have shaped the idea of the garden to be. This idea includes a walking path, trees and swings. As it happens, most of the work on the garden has been taken over by a group of residents from the Society.
Parallel to the above, R and R is also interested in developing an art collection and an exhibition programme. Both of these activities are also quite meshed with an expanded notion of the library, which will include artworks, toys and other objects.
The space is currently holding its first exhibition titled Letter Opening, which deals with letter writing, as in both mail and characters. The exhibition is on for over a month, from May 29–July 2, 2016. During this time it opens up and interacts with the act of reading via the under construction library. Some of the more interactive works in the exhibition have drawn out the neighbourhood children who spend hours at the space drawing, colouring, solving puzzles or checking out the exhibition.
In the morning a different age group of children occupies the space through the pre-school or balwadi, which runs six days a week.
For more information: aarandaar.net
Zinnia Ambapardiwala, Mumbai
Zinnia Ambapardiwala studied physics, moonlights by day as a hairdresser and is a system administrator with CAMP, Pad.ma, and Indiancine.ma, since 2008.
Shaina Anand, Mumbai
Shaina Anand is a filmmaker and artist. She has been working independently in film and video since 2001, first as ChitraKarKhana, a small-scale unit for experimental media and from 2007 as part of CAMP. Her primary concerns are in producing images in a way that customary roles of subject, author and technology devolve to produce new movements. www.chitrakarkhana.net
CAMP is a collaborative studio founded in Mumbai in 2007. It has been producing provocative new work in video and film, electronic media, and public art forms, in a practice characterised by a hand-dirtying, non-alienated relation to technology. CAMP's projects have entered modern social and technical assemblies: energy, communication and surveillance systems, neighbourhoods, ships, archives – things much larger than itself. These are shown as not having a fixed function or destiny, making them both a medium and stage for artistic activity. CAMP’s work has been shown in venues such as Khoj, Sarai, Lalit Kala Akademi and NGMA New Delhi; Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Gallery Chemould Mumbai; MoMA and New Museum New York; Serpentine Galleries and Gasworks London; Asia Art Archive and M+ Hongkong, Ars Electronica Linz, HKW Berlin, MoMA Warsaw, Askhal Alwan Beirut, Experimenter Kolkata and Documenta 13 Kassel; in the streets and markets of Bangalore, San Jose, Dakar, Mexico City, East Jerusalem, Delhi and Mumbai; in the biennials of Shanghai, Sharjah, Gwangju, Taipei, Singapore, Liverpool and Kochi-Muziris; at film venues such as the AV Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Viennale, Flaherty Seminar, Anthology Film Archives, and CAMP’s own rooftop cinema. From their home base in Chuim village, Mumbai they co-host the online archives Pad.ma and Indiancine.ma among other longue-duree activities. www.studio.camp
Gitanjali Dang, Mumbai
Gitanjali Dang is a Mumbai-based curator, writer and researcher. She is interested in shrinking distances between all manner of contexts—ideas, histories, philosophies, geographies, people, disciplines, and so on. By creating intimacy between contexts Dang hopes to make visible their underlying hybridity and question notions of identity construction. Past exhibitions and projects include the online intervention 'www.beam-me.net' (2010), 'Caution: Children at Work' (2011) Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai and 'Shikaar: The Hunt' (2011) Select City Walk Mall, New Delhi. She is currently curator of Khanabadosh, an itinerant arts lab she found in Mumbai in 2012. Her criticisms and articles have appeared in publications such as Art Papers, Frieze, Art Agenda, The Times of India and Nafas Art Magazine. She has lectured and presented papers at Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, among others. Together with Christoph Schenker, she is co-founder of Draft. www.khanabadosh.info
Rupali Gupte, Mumbai
Rupali Gupte is an architect and urbanist. She is founding member and trustee of Society For Environment and Architecture that runs the School of Environment and Architecture (SEA), where she also teaches. She is also founder member of the Collective Research Initiatives Trust (CRIT), an organisation that works on research and practice in urbanism. In addition, she is also a partner in RRarchitecture101, an architectural design practice, and is associated with Cornell AAP and Kohn Pederson Fox, New York, the KRVIA Design Cell, Mumbai and the Urban Design Research Initiative (UDRI), Mumbai. Along with Prasad Shetty she is consulting Urban Management expert to the Town Administration of Mendefera, Eritrea. She also teaches at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture (KRVIA), Mumbai. Her interests lie in a cross-disciplinary investigation into the contemporary urban condition. She has been a Research Fellow with KRVIA and with Sarai-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and architect in residency at Khoj (New Delhi). Her works include a semi-fictional history of Mumbai titled Tactical City, Tenali Rama and other stories of Mumbai’s Urbanism (Cornell University, 2006); Architectural Fictions as part of ‘Jugaad Urbanism’ (2011), American Institute of Architects, New York and an installation titled ‘Pothole City’ produced for the Art-Architecture Residency at Khoj, New Delhi. www.sea.edu.in and www.crit.in
Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty, Mumbai
Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty are urbanists based in Mumbai. They believe that the urban realm is incoherent, unbound, unstable and gets worked out through multiple and messy logics. Their conceptual journey has moved from an urge for mapping cities, articulating problems and developing corrective interventions to looking closely at urban conditions, formulating newer ways to speak about them, and developing engagements to live and find delight. Their work often crosses disciplinary boundaries and takes different forms—writings, drawings, mixed-media works, storytelling, teaching, conversations, walks and spatial interventions. Some of their joint works include Multifarious Nows (2007), Manifesta 7, Bolzano, a multi-media map of the textile mill lands in Mumbai and Studies of Housing Types in Mumbai (2007) produced for Urban Age, London School of Economics, the work is a compilation of twenty-one housing typologies in Mumbai with narratives on the contexts of their production, Gurgaon Glossaries (2013) a methodology to read cities, shown at Sarai 09 Delhi, Mumbai Art Room and the Sao Paolo Architecture Biennale and Transactional Objects (2015) an installation shown at the 56th Venice Biennale.
Khanabadosh is an itinerant arts lab founded in Mumbai in 2012 by curator, writer and researcher Gitanjali Dang. Persian for those who carry their homes with them, Khanabadosh thrives on latitude; not having a fixed address helps. Khanabadosh is committed to latent connections, combinatory play, interdisciplinarity, commons and engaging with the past in order to envision the imaginaries of the future. Recent projects include ‘Kairos’ (2013) Shedhalle, Zürich, a sequence of documentary screenings, which focused on disenchanted voices of the Indian subaltern and included works by Anand Patwardhan, Rakesh Sharma and Sanjay Kak and ‘The Age Of Re:discovery’ (2014), a nine-month long online workshop by Compasswallah which accessed the history of science through the urban situation. Khanabadosh in collaboration with Institute for Contemporary Art Research (IFCAR), Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) is the co-organiser of Draft.
Prasad Shetty, Mumbai
Prasad Shetty is an urbanist and founding member of the Collective Research Initiatives Trust (CRIT). He also works with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region – Environment Improvement and Heritage Conservation Society and teaches at the Rachana Sansad’s Academy of Architecture, Mumbai. His work involves research and teaching on contemporary Indian urbanism including architectural practices, studies of post-industrial landscapes, housing types, archiving post-liberalisation developments, entrepreneurial practices and urban property. He has also been a lecturer at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture (KRVIA), an Independent Fellow at The Sarai Programme at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi and a Consulting Urban Management expert, together with Rupali Gupte, to the Town Administration of Mendefera, Eritrea. His recent works include De-Mapping (2011), an installation emerging from the hyper-mapping tendencies of urban study practices and Bombay Talkies and Other Stories of Malad (2013) comprising research on the land politics in the suburbs of Mumbai. www.cityscans.wordpress.com
Ashok Sukumaran, Mumbai
Ashok Sukumaran is interested in everything, but especially things that disappear from our sensibility, and then our intelligences. He has been trying to assemble recall mechanisms and provocations for the future from such diverse materials as electricity, leaky phone taps, neighbours and unlikely collaborations. He co-founded CAMP in 2007.
Sunday May 29th, 6:00 pm onwards
First exhibition at R and R with:
Anonymous via Kush Badhwar: I am not your ideal job-seeker, 1960s
Atul Dodiya: Letter from father
Awaaz-e-Niswan (Geeta Mahajan and Shahnaaz Shaikh): Aisa Khat mein Likho, with Arif Shaikh and Neela Bhagwat
Ekta Rehvasi Seva Sangh: Writing for electricity
Gauri Gill: Words and drawings on the walls of schools in Rajasthan
Himanshu S and friends: Mandala eviction letter becomes a newspaper
Javed Iqbal: Hum Nahin Hatenge photos
Jhelum Paranjape, Suhita Thatte and Smitalay: Savitri Vadate, letters she wrote
Maanvi, Pranali Garud, Priyamvada Jagia, Tarishi Verma, Vishal Langhthasa: A film about the letter writer as archivist and activist
Mithu Sen: Hairy letters in non-language
Mukta Salve: Open letter from 1855
Pash: Khuli Chitthi, Censor Hone Wale Khat ka Dukhant
Poonam Jain: Coded sentence, a concentric writing book
RTI enthusiasts: Creative demands and responses
Sanjeev Khandekar and Vaishali Narkar: A painting that opens a letter
Shilpa Gupta: An invitation to colour a sentence
Shreyas Karle: A booklet on redundant terms in Marathi news
(Photos: Prasad Shetty and Phalguni Desai)
What is a Garden?
Sunday, April 24, 2016. 4:00pm onwards.
What is a Garden? Part 2. In which we talk about rats, plants, ropes, cocopeat, cleaning, and rain among other practical plans for the garden next to R and R.
Followed by a screening at 7 pm. of Dar-B-Dar, a new film by Akash Basumatari, Arpita Katiyar, Radhika Agarwal, Rajendra Jadhav, Saurabh Kumar and Sujata Sarkar.
Limit Extension Anniversary
Date: Saturday, April 16th
Time: 5 pm to 7 pm
Venue: R and R, behind building 21-B,
Lallubhai compound, Mankhurd, Mumbai
On 15th April 1950 the Bombay Municipal (Extension of Limits) Act was brought into force which extended the boundary of Bombay Island city to include areas upto Jogeshwari and Bhandup. These areas earlier constituted Bombay Suburbs and were governed by Borough Municipalities, Notified Area Committees and Village Panchayats which were dissolved and brought under the Municipal Corporation of Bombay. In a dissenting opinion against this Act, Chunilal Barfivala wrote that it was a "wholesale annexation of vast area, abolition of suburban civic units and ruthless sacrifice of the corporate life of the annexed communities" and was designed to "remove all undesirable things to the outskirts of the city", among which are mentioned: manufacturing candles, casting metals, making cow dung cakes, soap making, tar melting, cattle stables, slaughter houses, blood boiling, bone crushing...
These debates, and the reasons given for the limit extension: de-congestion of Bombay, better administration, extending of civic services to Suburbs in exchange for city taxes, and control of crime -- still resonate in present times.
For this occasion, an open discussion and mini-exhibition of maps and documents is being held at R and R, to revisit: the city from the perspective of the suburbs of various kinds; the Tadipaar- or discourse of crime in spatial expansion; maps pre and post limit extension; the splitting into two of Majas Village, the contemporary example of villages of Vasai-Virar which recently resisted a similar extension; and other shared observations with an aim of exploring limits of extension and extensions of limits.
With contributions by: Simpreet Singh, Nisha Kundar, Ashok Sukumaran, Hussain Indorewala, Jerry Pinto, among others.
R and R
By CAMP, Khanabadosh and Rupali Gupte, Prasad Shetty
At Lallubhai Compound, Mankhurd, Mumbai
Opening March 2016