Thursday, April 26, 2007

about this blog

This blog has been writing about and photographing bazaars. So, many of the posts are about experiences in the bazaars in Kerala, in Chennai and in Vizag. Its at the moment just fascinated with this part of our living heritage.

In the month of April, the blog has focused on how in India, Art is a way of life and that one does see this in our Bazaars everyday. In this april section and also in a few posts in the end of March, bazaars were seen not only as spaces for everyday but as creations of the people to whom they belong to. Art is seen for a while not as a "representation" of the real world but as a "way of seeing" that is photographed for that moment in time. The creation continues to be where it always was.

In May 2007, the blog will go back to the bazaars as a spatial experience, since this research must go on. There are for now, thoughts that belong to the bazaar, which are here at INDIAN BAZAARS and those that belong to experiencing architecture, experiencing life which are in the blog a way of seeing

Monday, April 23, 2007

Colours of a culture

spice art

Light in the Scrapyard

“The uniqueness of every painting was once part of the uniqueness of the place where it resided. Sometimes, the painting was transportable. But it could never be seen in two places at the same time. When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image. As a result its meaning changes. Or, more exactly, its meaning multiplies and fragments into many meanings.”

- John Berger

In his book ‘Ways of Seeing’, John Berger went on to illustrate what happens when a painting is shown on a television screen and how this painting then enters each viewer’s house. Because of the camera, the painting now travels to the spectator rather than the spectator to the painting.

It is interesting to see what happens when something real is captured for that moment on a digital camera. It is a digitised image that is “loaded” onto your computer and that can appear simultaneously on a million computers when put into a blog or into a website. Now, you not only see this image as you did earlier on a television screen and begin to interpret it in your mind, each differently. But, you also begin to exchange these interpretations. You begin to exchange other images that remind you of this image, or meanings that generate other images.

Today, the camera has not only made something from the real world reproducible many times over, but it has allowed this reproduction and its original meaning to be discovered on “the net” or to be “googled”

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bundle of something

You see a bundle of cloth and nothing else for that moment. And, as you photograph it, the bundle has eliminated that which you have seen the moment before and also the moment after, the next bundle of yellow cloth and the man who sells the cloth and the chappals that lie on the floor next to bundle.

The pile of brass pots is a picture too. It is moved into the shop when it is time to go home and close shop. It is picture during day. Brass, steel, aluminium make the picture. Light falls on brass. It does not fall on aluminium. The photograph catches the sun at four o'clock in the afternoon. The picture of pots continues to be there when the sun goes down. Only you are now not in the bazaar.

There is a bundle of coco-cola and pepsi crates. Yellow public telephone booth, red coca-cola crate. This is not art. Is it articulation? Articulation is defined as 'the manner of joining or interrelating'. It is also 'the act of giving utterance or expression'. These are by people who bring this articulation into their work, people who link creativity and entrepreneurship.

art and daily commodity

There's a painting with 'puffed rice, parboiled rice and chillis'. There is another painting further down the market which is 'small lamps and big lamps' This one is different also because the sunlight has changed the way it looks. There is painting with 'marigolds, betel leaf and coconut'. There is also painting with 'heap of tamarind and block of jaggery'. These were people whose livelihoods were in the bazaar and creativity was a small part of it.

people and places

Christopher Day in his book 'Places for the soul' speaks of photographs as fragments of experience. I agree with him in that art and architecture are essentially much more than what the eye can record. It is possible for us to develop a way of seeing and then, in some days or years, to change that way of seeing within ourselves.

People photograph and people paint. They make "representations" of life that we term as art. These are people who see life as art. There are also others who see as much, but do not record. The art continues to flow outside of the artists, in life itself.

women in the bazaar

In October 2006, it was the Festival of lights all over the country. That Diwali, as in the Diwali the year before, there were more flowers in the bazaar than everyday. In Vizag or Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, there were marigolds everywhere. Poorna market and the Rama Talkies junction were crowded with people and with flowers. There were women selling flowers and women buying flowers. There were heaps of marigolds and strings of marigolds. Poorna market is primarily a fruit and vegetable market but had created spaces for flowers for the week of diwali. The visual landscape of Poorna market was different that week.

Vizag does not have an art plaza like the one outside the Jehangir Art Gallery at Kalaghoda in Bombay. But, Vizag, like every town in India, has a street bazaar. And, all of us go to the bazaar, whether we are art lovers or not. There is much to see. At diwali time, there were flowers here, crackers somewhere else. Only, each exhibit was on display for only one day. And, the exhibit diminished in size as the day moved on. Especially the flowers. The hands of the women sometimes created a new heap, sometimes emptied it in parts, sometimes wove the flowers into a string and at other times, separated the yellow from the orange.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Art _ a way of life

An earlier post "Art & Representation" is about looking into a "painting".

One may read a little about why art is, what it does for man, why it still lives and so on. Understanding art can be a long quest. Experiencing a painting is also like reading Roald Dahl's "Charlie Wonka and the chocolate factory"

The painting 'Annunciation' is an assignment that was done for an elective course 'Architecture & Representation' at Cornell University, 15 years ago. Today, when you look at Bazaars, you know there is art there. It reminds one of the journey into the annunciation painting. You wonder why the Bazaar is not also "painting"

Many years ago, an american art historian who was in Bombay for her continuing research on the Elephanta Caves, asked us if we had seen and understood India the way we ought to know it, that "in India, one does not visit museums to see art, because, here, art is a way of life"

what we see, what we know

in the bazaar, space is ...
what we see
and what we know

it is not known
what is private
what is public
space is eternity

you sell, you buy
you occupy, you vacate
you give, you take
you include, you exclude

People come
People belong
People form society
Society within nation

All in the 'Everyday space'

an art installation

How did "art installations" come into being? Where was its birthplace?

What did an art installation do when it first appeared? What does it do for us now? Do renowned artists make art installations?

Is art for the common man? Does common man make art?

In the bazaar, "there are cities within cities" as they say. What is the smallest atom of this city? Is there a DNA helix also in the city of people and goods?