BENGALURU: This Sunday, city-based artists plan to add more to the already colourful space under the Richmond Circle flyover.
In June, 10 artists were asked to be part of Archipelago Investment Zone, a participatory reality game that engages artists and urban spaces.
Kunstrepublik, a Germany-based artist collective approached city-based artist Archana Prasad with the proposal to start the project in Bengaluru. Ten citizens in Gelsenkirchen (Germany) and 10 citizens in Bengaluru were invited to make use of a plot of an abandoned land and transform it over the course of six months.
Artists were approached and spaces short-listed. "We found the space under the flyover the most challenging," says Archana.
The space had become a dumpyard and an open urinal. Illegal posters were stuck on the pillars and noise and dust levels were high. "Every individual was given `2,000 to engage the space in an artistic way and talk about the issues surrounding it," she says.
So every alternate Sunday, these artists gathered to create art installations, paint the pillars and also present performances. "We initially started with small paintings and installations. But we realised they were getting lost in the chaotic mess that the space already was," says Archana. So after a couple of brainstorming sessions, they decided to do something that would stand out. "We painted the pillars red. That got us a lot of attention," she says.
And as the weeks went by, people's curiosity was piqued. "Passers-by started talking to us, they started participating," she adds. Slowly shopkeepers too joined in. Some provided lighting for late evening shows while others opened their basement for equipment. "A small cafe helped us with food and water," she adds.
The art spoke about issues around the flyover. Noise, dust, pollution, violence and garbage were some themes. One Sunday saw installation of an innovative photo booth. A survey had revealed that people around were influenced by filmstars, Deepika Padukone being the most popular. “So we installed a picture of her throwing garbage,” says Avril Stormy Unger, a performing artiste.
On another weekend, the team experimented with a project titled Goddess of Cleanliness. “I dressed up with multiple hands. Each hand held a different cleaning tool. I was videographed,” says Avril. At the event, the video was projected on a pillar. “The crowd was surprised to see me. I spoke about garbage management,” she says.
On Sunday, the team will explore a new theme — What Keeps You in the City? Led by artist Vivek Chockalingam, the artists ask, “Do we live in the city because we have no choice or are we chasing a dream?”
The artist plans to instal a giant creature under the flyover. “We have named it Chockantula,” he says. The project will portray how we envision this city — as a window, a trap, a home, or even a monster. “We will also serve a drink in the end. This is a mix of coconut water and fruit juice,” he says.
The event starts at 7 pm on November 9.