The four and half months – between approaching IFA with my proposal in August ’21 and receiving the wonderful news of their acceptance in January ’21 – involved intermittent yet elaborate exchanges with their panel of experts. Responding to the chain of questions, mediated through Program Officer John Xavier, helped me immensely in understanding and articulating what I was embarking upon. Following are excerpts of the said exchange.
Aug 26, 2021
Are you using the term Studio as a synonym for Workshops? As for you, is there a distinction between the term Studio and the term ‘Workshops’ as suggested in the IFA programme note? If not, why do you insist on the term Studio and in that context how do you think your proposal aligns with the programme Workshops, Residencies, Seminars (Arts Practice).
Please bear with me as I attempt to disentangle the semantics of the terms.
I wouldn’t call my program a Seminar because the participants, rather than converging for short durations to present and/ or converse over works and ideas, will be engaging over a long duration to create – both individually and together. Periodic seminars between the participants and veterans from the fields of theater and architecture will be part of the program.
I call it a Studio as it is far longer than what workshops are expected to last for. However, my pedagogical approach is predominantly that of a workshop due to significant emphases on the following:
- Emotional presence rather than intellectual rigor alone
- Embodied responses and embodiment of processes
- Intimacy, intensity and spontaneity of engagements
- Structured and frequent challenges to individual work through group engagements
- Breaking the project down into shorter task or design timeframes of a week or fortnight
- Explorations & diversity in application of methods and mediums
Ideally, I would’ve preferred to run it as a three month residency in the hills. However, I am reconciling with the following limitations:
- We’re still amidst the pandemic, where congregation cannot be made necessary and, in fact, should be avoided
- I am only available half the time to run the program, the other half of my time is devoted to teaching assignments and our design practice
- While Sukhmani, my wife, heads our design practice, we have 10-year old twins whom I attend to as they study from home; a situation which seems unlikely to change soon
Since, I will be stationed in New Delhi and didn’t want to impose the condition on the participants of travelling to and staying in Delhi, I chose not to call it a Residency. However, after your suggested timeline of upto three months after September to complete the formalities, I am hopeful that the situation will be much better and the option of inviting participants for a residency can be considered.
How do you want to distinguish between the Studio/workshop experience from the hierarchies of the university classroom model? In your description, you mention the following: “Rich prospects of mentoring diversely interested/ capable students or recent graduates…” Is the mentor-student relationship anymore inclusive and emancipatory than the university classroom model? Briefly reflect on how you want to position yourself in it and how do you want to make the Studio/workshop experience more inclusive and safe?
I believe that some significant distinctions will come into play if my program is run independently when compared to design studios offered by universities. In my knowledge and experience, CEPT is the only design university in India which seems to be presenting the necessary challenge to ineffective mass-education. CEPT is unique in its dual offering: an array of studios for students to choose from and almost complete autonomy to the tutors in running their respective studios. Notwithstanding its position as an institution of eminence, and a pioneering one at that, CEPT’s mandate is to provide widely equipped planners, architects, designers, engineers & managers to the industry. In spite of being a university, CEPT is content with training its students in the disciplines of designing, building and managing habitats. It does not concern itself with the other creative human necessities within and without habitats. For this reason, a majority of CEPT’s tutors and studios do not or cannot offer interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary processes, although they may often push or question their own boundaries. Interestingly, I got the simultaneous opportunity of conducting a studio at another university in Ahmedabad, which is at the other end of the spectrum from CEPT. Its pedagogical framework still languishes in the twentieth century, however without the accompanying rigour or accommodation. Most institutions in India, I feel, follow the latter model, ignoring the crises we face within and without the pandemic.
The cohort of students within an institution, particularly those partly or fully funded by the government, is only diverse incidentally and in a limited way. Besides, I am not aware of institutions, private or otherwise, implementing the mandate of populating their campus with social or regional diversity since the business of education also has to be viable. My ambitious experiment, on the other hand, aims to bring together 6 participants from as many distinct cultural regions of the country. This will be critical to the conception and realization of the design for a place of performance.
Engagements outside the institutional domain, in my view, being voluntary, are more fearless, produce quality work and have a lasting impact on the participants’ sense of self worth. I imagine that the participants would feel liberated to work with someone who has no influence on their institutional upbringing. Choosing to participate in a program rather than going through the mandatory motions and, after completion, not having to engage with me unless they want to, is more likely to help participants exercise their autonomy than within an institutional hierarchy.
Mentoring empowers me to guide mentees processes without trying to control them. Control, in a way, is needed if I were to run such a project professionally. As a mentor I am less anxious and more experimental & encouraging when compared to the mandate of a project leader who is responsible for multiple facets of invested capital while delivering a project. The inevitability of capital makes us all play safe and from some distance. The space of learning, on the other hand, necessitates vulnerability and courage, makes us sensitive to and responsible for each others’ emotional needs and asks of us the creation and sustenance of a close-knit safe space. This is the space that I have been struggling and striving for over the past decade.
What will be the criteria of evaluation of the applications received? What is your outreach strategy for circulating the call for applications? Briefly mention the demographics you want to reach out to, in terms of geography, class and gender, in order to select six participants.+
A critical assessment of the stature/ authenticity of the following four elements will form the criteria for evaluating applications:
- Portfolio of academic and extracurricular/ voluntary engagements
- Previous training or sustained practice or frequent engagement in a performing art form, not necessarily at a professional level
- Statement of Purpose/ Need for Participation/ Relevance to the Program (1000-1500 word note)
- Two Letters of Reference
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed to make the final selection.
The call for applications will be shared with the deans/ directors of architecture & design institutions & firms across the country with a request that they post them on their public platforms, including social media. News paper advertisements are still an effective option, in addition to digital and analogue design magazines/ periodicals.
In terms of demographics, I feel it will neither be easy nor necessary to ascertain if an applicant belongs to an underprivileged background or an affluent one. However, if it becomes evident during the evaluation process that a prospective participant does not have access to other enriching programs within or outside the country, they will be given preference over another who may have the resources to further their learning.
A majority of design & architecture students and young graduates today are young women. This perhaps has to do with the displacement of the professions from the position of a viable source of sustained income/ employment for our predominantly patriarchal societies. I anticipate a similar gender bias in the applications; however, I am not in favour of placing any filter or conditions here.
The question of geography is critical to this program. However, I have delved upon it only briefly. The northern & northeastern mountains, the Indo-Gangetic plains, the desert & hot-arid areas of the West, the central highlands and the deccan plateau, and the coastal areas are all distinct regions which have nurtured distinct cultures. In fact, within these regions there are myriad subcultures affected and sustained by the changing geographies. To comprehensively address the diversity of our country, this program may have to run as a never-ending series… insha-allah! However, to make a beginning, I am keen on representation from the cold & arid north (J & K and Ladakh), the humid North East, the hot & arid west, the deccan plateau, the coastal Konkan, and Kerala (particularly for the Koothambalam). However, this dimension requires considerable deliberation and strategies to identify the six regions, map institutions to the desired catchment areas and eventually select candidates who may represent a region other than the location of their institution and/ or residence. It will be very helpful if IFA can participate in discussions for finalizing the regions.
Please give a picture about the hypothetical space that will be reimagined as a performance space through spatial design. What are the attributes of this hypothetical space that you have in mind that makes it possible to be modulated for the post-pandemic conditions.
My own understanding is that theater and the place of performance will have to now preclude openness in conception, through processes and in execution. The courtyard, I feel, will be the counterpoint to the blackboxes that proliferated recently. People will seek open spaces to both perform as well as experience performances.
The threshold spaces – for the myriad dramas before and after a performance – will be as critical as the space of performance, if not more. Mobile refreshment carts will replace beverage centers to allow for physical distancing, sanitization and rapid testing booths (or even ones’ for vaccination) will replace the box-office, and washrooms will be scattered instead of being centralized. The words disposal and disposable will have to integrate recycling: cutlery, packaging and excreta, all into compost. Copper, for its anti-pathogenic properties, will perhaps become as valuable as gold.
The participants of the Residency, to develop their individual designs for a place for performance, will choose one or a combination from the three types of site conditions: the street, the courtyard and the pavilion, which will be located in the place where the participant belongs. In addition, they will also work on short design exercises through the course of the residency to develop apparel, furniture, mobile and stationary booths for food and health, as well as a mobile unit to facilitate performances.
Amplifying Amba Suhasini and Abhishek Krishnen’s suggestion, the digital experience can be integrated into a theater production by strategizing near-invisible cameras (which technology now offers without compromising on visual clarity) amongst the present audience to broadcast the play to a wider audience online. This presents an opportunity of safeguarding and enhancing the intimate experience of theater while exponentially increasing its accessibility and chances of monetary returns.
Theater and architecture can no longer afford to ignore, what Rustom calls, the ‘practical & concrete aspects of our existence; our ecological footprint’. Kirtana Kumar’s invite to her Infinite Souls campus outside Bengaluru “to borrow from the villagers and play on the rocks, under the trees and in the fields” is not just a kind summon to an artists’ retreat, but a call to a better way of living.
Briefly reflect on the intersection of theatre and architecture as mutually enriching artistic domains, based on your practice as an architect, designer, educator and theatre maker.
Our relationship to architecture is not unlike that to our parents. We see architecture without looking or look at it without always really seeing. We feel it just as we embody our parents. Most spatial design practitioners and educators overlook this fundamental nature of our engagement with the built environment: from the corner of our eyes and the hair on our skins. Indeed, it is a very difficult dimension to pay attention to or talk about; you can’t see it or hear it, how do you share it? But then, if we understand that most of our communication is non-verbal and not necessarily always in focus, then we begin to understand our relationship to architecture as that of inhabitation: occupying, displacing, dividing and bringing together space. Theater and, in extension, play, have helped me incredibly in facilitating students to perceive this embodiment of spaces and personification of buildings. Both in practice and pedagogy, I categorise inhabitation (which, of course, includes movement) into solitude, intimacy, congregation and transaction. Although these categories, just like any other, are not watertight compartments and created only for understanding, they allow one to remember, observe or imagine the multitude of emotions and narratives that a space is then capable of accommodating, enhancing, subduing or subverting. To remember, observe or imagine the inhabitation or the making of spaces is the contemplation on or experience of the theater that takes place within them.
What do you think will be the challenges for scenographers and theatre architects, when it comes to acoustics, while moving out of enclosed spaces, in favour of borderless performative domains, as sound is an important element in theatre. Briefly reflect.
Since theater experience has been turning increasingly insular, particularly under the pretext of control on lighting & acoustic, moving out of the enclosed spaces provides an opportunity of reconnecting to the questions of Why do we need communities? Why do we need theater? And what is the inherent relationship between the two? The aspect of light will have to return to the realms of day & night and sound will have to accommodate the incidentals of the context in which any narrative is being played. Theater-making and the places for it need to integrate nature rather than isolating itself from it. While timing of a play will help with its lighting needs, some measures in terms of portable paneling and materials of construction & seating can help with creating appropriate acoustic conditions. Any further control on acoustic calls for an invisible technology like bluetooth, which can carry the most subtle of sounds – be it performers’ voices or background score – straight to the audiences’ ears.
Oct 13, 2021
Briefly reflect on the spatial energies of traditional theatrical forms, where the open air spaces transmuted as performance spaces,(Eg: Ram Lila, Moharram), as a counterpoint to enclosed performance spaces of modern theatre. Do you want to think of integrating the scenographic modularity of traditional performative forms, where the ‘human walls’ implied the architectonics of performativity. In the post-pandemic condition, is it possible to visualise the humanoid as an element of theatre architecture? Briefly share your thoughts.
About seven years ago I got hold of a book, Folk Music & Musical Instruments of Punjab, which included an audio CD. The diversely rich music was moving. However, everytime I would listen to the CD, I couldn’t help but miss the outdoors in the sounds. The control of studio recording seemed to have taken away the full-bloodedness and with it the folk from the music.
Nearly two decades ago, I was part of the school of architecture theatre group at CEPT, Ahmedabad. Of the seven productions that we staged in the twenty two months of the group’s existence, all but one were staged in the open air. In fact, the street play that was created in and around the aftermath of the 2001 Kutch earthquake, was staged in four diverse urban spaces: Teen Darwaja in the old city, Vastrapur Gam (a village surrounded by the growing new city), our campus and C.G. Road (an up-market area of the new city). The degree of vibrancy followed a descending order in the sequence of locations I’ve mentioned above. The architectonic of the “human wall” (that’s how I’ve heard Dr. Rustom Bharucha refer to it too) was most dense and intense at Teen Darwaja. It was a bright and hot afternoon. The space is anyways buzzing with the din of daily street-business. When we created the space for our play, it was as though the entire commotion got channelized into a tense stillness that descended into the circle made up by tightly packed bodies. We were delivering our lines at the peak of our voices, completely engrossed in our narratives and characters. At one moment as I got close to the ring and stretched out the rhetoric along with my arm, someone from the crowd grabbed my hand with an intense camaraderie and shouted, “SIDDHARTH BHAI!” I woke out of my character for a moment to recognize my mechanic, Gulzar’s assistant. I smiled at him, he let go of my hand and I continued with the play. It was an incredible moment of transgression. Vastrapur Gam too had a large crowd surrounding the play space in inconsistent thicknesses, but the atmosphere was lighter with many children and a lot of laughter. CEPT had a thinner and sparse wall, but it was home with a lot of familiar faces – some warm, some cold. C.G. Road was a miserable experience owing to the indifference of the new-age urban shoppers and loiterers – our play amidst the bright lights of advertisement hoardings didn’t seem to amuze them.
The specialization in every aspect of life brought about by industrialization has, of course, engineered our social behaviour as well. Our identities are fused in monochromatic hues with our profession or ascribed location or timing: we are either creative or not depending upon our occupation and, as Maya Rao would put it, we are either an audience or not depending upon whether we are in a designated place for performance. The project of modernization is one of building specialised infrastructure which, regardless of its degree of success, is almost always competing against nature. The folk, on the contrary, is a rather fluid phenomenon. It doesn’t demand control over the organic: the chirping birds, wind rustling the trees or grass or even the incidental happenings of any event. The folk begs audience and offerings, which is a counterpoint to the transactional pride of the specialist. The folk has people both within and outside the play, not necessarily performers and audience divided by an invisible and inviolable wall. Such a tectonic is dynamic and keeps the hope of congregating, though not en masse, even in a pandemic, if we are open to conceiving and structuring our performances as fluid constructs.
The close proximity of frayed fluttering flags, the hypnosis of the swaying, shimmering Tazia, the loud drums resonating within the rib cage, and my back resting tense against a towering adult. This exhilarating memory from nearly four decades ago of a performance that annually visited our front yard is perhaps far more alive than any later experience of watching a play, seated in the dark comfort of an air-conditioned auditorium with Dolby stereo.
In your methodology, how do you want to consider the insights from the spatiality of ancient and medieval architectural forms such as temple interiors that alternated as performance spaces, especially because those spaces were calibrated to resonate with the requirements of acoustics in performances as well as musical experiences.
Traditional architecture and performance follow highly canonized principals, which tend to create segregations similar to those of modern specializations. However, traditional architecture offers spatialities which are far more adaptive and generous compared to the readymade fit of today’s specialised or mass architecture, both of which propagate stiff and stretched occupancy rather than dynamic and animated inhabitation. Besides the generic possibility of both ritualistic and narrative performances in the mandapa, colonnade or square of temples, a Koothambalam sets a wonderful example of a performance space which is not hermetically sealed from its context. While this traditional architecture also directly engages with and responds to the climate of its place, its wooden construction is also very accommodative of the acoustic needs of the performances it hosts. With stone temple architecture in most other contexts, I imagine that a vibrant palette of tapestry would get deployed temporarily for the duration of the performative celebrations to counter stone’s acoustic repulsion.
Beyond this, my deliberations on the acoustics of theater architecture will be speculative. Besides, the nature of theater architecture that I imagine to explore through the Residency is of found places with basic anchors rooted in the context and community of their place, and mostly supplemented with transient or temporary strategies to address the specific needs of particular performances.
Have you considered involving voice actors/ performers as facilitators in your workshop, considering the obstacles that performers have been facing in theatre spaces, owing to faulty design. Briefly reflect on the importance of involving voice actors in theatre architecture and design.
Although I am not sure about particularly involving voice actors in the design process, I believe that the actors and musicians do need to become part of the design team for theater architecture along with sound engineers. Each of their specialized senses, skills and language need to converge in giving shape to the place of performance from within. Also, such convergences need to happen in short-term sustainable temporary engagements, rather than in resource intensive, long-term megaprojects that outlive and outshine communities as derelict haunted palaces.
While the idea of involving voice actors/ performers as facilitators is promising, I am not sure if I will be able to raise the necessary resources to invite their participation. However, I do have in mind the possibility of a short workshop on music and poetry within the Residency by a friend and mentor who is a Sufi singer and composer.
Is there a particular reason for involving only six participants for the workshops? Briefly describe why there can’t be more participants in the workshops.
There are multiple reasons for limiting the participant size to six. The most important, as mentioned in my earlier communication, is the possibility of sustaining the intimacy and intensity of engagements in a group size of seven. This understanding comes from my decade and half long practice of design and architecture. A team size of seven is good enough to deliver quality projects ranging in scale from a logo to a city. In addition, I am also considering the logistics of my studio space and the place of accommodation for all participants. Any larger group size and my studio will be inadequate and the accommodation dispersed. I am also serious about offering a stipend to the young participants, which is essential for their sense of self worth. Practically, I could run the residency as an academic studio of up to twelve participants, but that would require a far greater resource input in terms of my engagement as well as payouts, and may still not carry the desired intimacy and intensity.
Please describe how your workshop will derive from and deviate from the body of knowledge already produced on the subject in India, such as, in the books:
- Burte, Himanshu, Space For Engagement, 2008, Seagull (ISBN-13: 978-8170462781)*
- Vellani, Anmol (ed), Beyond the Proscenium: Reimagining the Space for Performance, 2010, Theatre Infrastructure Cell, India Foundation for the Arts
While I can only respond to this question once I read the books, I am sure there will be more than adequate material to accommodate or challenge in our Residency. However, the body of knowledge that I am really interested in pursuing is the embodied wisdom of all the participants, guest speakers and reviewers of the Residency.
Dec 1, 2021
Reading Beyond the Proscenium has been a delight. It’s a shame that beyond a cursory familiarity with their creative stance, I hadn’t really followed up on Astad Debu and Bansi Kaul’s works. It’s also uncanny that the two stalwarts passed away within a span of three months over the past year.
The book is an incredible resource particularly for Debu’s insistence on seeking challenge in a space and Kaul’s advice to love a space to be able to intervene in it. Besides Kaul’s creative versatility, I am also moved by his frugal grassroots engagement, his condition of making friends before making an audience and his sensibility of measuring space through sound. The latter aspect made me realise the significance of including a voice artist in design processes, as was pointed out in a questionnaire in one of your earlier communications.
The only way I see my residency departing from the methodology of the said publication is the fact that our processes will not be relying on larger than life personalities (and I refer to them so with utmost regard). We will instead be working with ordinary individuals’ personal experiences to discover the extraordinary within and their potential of coming together to create something sublime. Nevertheless, Beyond the Proscenium again has ample references to Bansi Kaul’s childhood memories as well the project’s strategy of centering knowledge in discourse to circumvent its difficult rendering to power (Jagan Shah quotes Levebre in the introduction).
The larger trajectory of my residency, however, is the ambitious creation of both strategy as well as design beyond theory, to negotiate/ mitigate/ counter the snatching away of the creative space by situations such as pandemics.
Jan 12, 2022
EXPERT EVALUATOR 1
Theatre practitioners have to constantly adjust to the demands or limitations of spaces, and, similarly, theatre (performance) spaces have to accommodate the demands and expectations of diverse styles of theatre practices. This generates tension, sometimes good tension, sometimes frustrating. I would also suggest an emphasis on the challenges of retrofitting a space as we do not always have the luxury of specially designed spaces, or of abandoning spaces made unsuitable by the pandemic.
This also has a bearing on the participants at the Studio. Geographical diversity is an excellent idea. I would also suggest exposure to diversity in theatre practice. A participant who works on the example of an enclosed, mass-produced, ecologically disastrous auditorium can make as valuable a contribution as another whose experience is with an open air space.
The Design Residency is imagined as growing out of each participant’s personal & communal moorings. The site of intervention will be chosen by each participant from their own neighborhood/ hometown/ place of upbringing. Participants will be encouraged to identify and document existing places which carry – in addition to a built element or two – the potential of becoming a place for performances. This could be either due to their popularity for congregation or from being abandoned. Conversely, engagement with blank-slate scenic plots will be discouraged in order to avoid the insulation that such a choice and subsequent design processes may lead to.
Continuing on the quality of diversity, each participant is also expected to identify forms of theater & performances unique to their region or community and imagine their inhabitation/ accommodation in the place that they design. This will help the participants set their context & design parameters in concrete terms. Of course, eventually the place of performance, without losing its character, will have to be far more generous in terms of accommodating myriad forms of performance.
I am concerned about how dissemination can take place. The outcomes of the Studio need to be accessible to theatre people, including space owners/facilitators. It is possible to plug into already available information about theatre groups running independent spaces, or independent spaces themselves. A collaborative arrangement for dissemination would work very well.
As has been my practice over the past year, the participants in my studio are required to reflect on their processes at a minimum frequency of a fortnight. These reflections, in the form of notes, sketches and photographs, are posted as a blog. This studio is also likely to carry videos as the participants will also be engaging in embodied processes of theater/ dance/ movement. The reflections will be both structured – corresponding to set exercise briefs – as well as digressive – corresponding to participants’ random intellectual & emotional insights. The entire website, documenting the structure, exercise briefs, produced and the reflections, will be accessible to the public.
EXPERT EVALUATOR 2
Acoustics seems only peripheral to the project.
Acoustics – owing to my limited expertise on the subject in practice – weren’t a core concern of the project when I started. Another reason for my oversight may be the intimidating – and often disturbing – infrastructural requirements drummed up in the name of lighting and acoustic control. However, in order to become aware of our sensitivity, I am considering making sound exercise (with respect to diverse physical contexts) intrinsic to the studio process. In addition, I also intend to invite an acoustic expert/ voice artist to conduct a session or two for the studio, provided that I am able to generate adequate funding.
The project’s outcomes depend a little too much on the participants (creatives) and their own qualifications and plans.
I believe that such is the nature of any creative process: it is fired by the uniqueness of the individual involved. While the uniqueness of the individuals comes to fruition when they work in or share with a collective.
We do not have a list of people who might agree to participate.
There are serious limitations of funding for this kind of a project. Involving professionals & practitioners does not seem like a viable option. Considering my experience, skills & high interest in mentoring, I have imagined the project as a design studio which includes embodied processes. The participants are likely to be students, recent graduates or professionals on a sabbatical. Applicants – following a prescribed call – will be evaluated for their suitability for the program. We will have a list of participants before May ’22.
EXPERT EVALUATOR 3
The pandemic is a key ingredient in the proposal (starting with the title) especially at the level of a premise, but it is not fully clear what exact role it plays in the way Siddharth defines the studio design. For instance, a key premise of the studio concept appears to be that the pandemic has disrupted the ritual structure of the collective social experience of theatre in an enclosed space. It is not clear to me how this (reasonable) assumption guides the process-design substantively right from a conceptualisation of the broad design task to its concrete requirements. More importantly, was the pandemic strictly necessary for this proposal? Not so, to my mind.
Perhaps a session with an epidemiologist – if I manage to garner additional funds – can help precisely delineate the direct relationship between pandemics and performance architecture. As of now, however, the clues that I am following are of the disruption of rituals – mundane as well as sacrosanct – and the disruption of breath (“prana” as Dr. Bharucha reminds us). While the reference to the body in deriving or relating to architectural form isn’t unlikely, it is perhaps more critical now to ask, “How does this architecture breathe?”
The proposal would still be valuable given the hoary tradition of taking theatre practice out of the theatre building abroad which, however, has been inadequately explored in contemporary theatre and architecture practice perhaps. It is, of course, possible that I have interpreted the intent of this aspect differently than intended. That said, more thought about changes to the everyday imaginary that the pandemic has brought about, could yield a sharper and situation-specific edge to the design of the exercise.
The studio begins with questions to the participants of the shifts & continuities – following the pandemic – in their individual, domestic and communal patterns of practice and desires. This is intended to expand the definition of performances and their relationship to spaces. The anchor of personal experiences, however, is intended to keep the scale of this expansion relatable. From this beginning, the participants move on to designing – both individually and in collaborative pairs or groups – smaller responses that can facilitate congregation, within the context of the pandemic and performances, finally proceeding to the design of a place for performance.
One question I have is: Why is the object of creation only an architectural one, if participants are to be uniquely ‘ambidextrous’ across design and theatre? Can a composite challenge be imagined? What might be the widenings and deepenings of horizon that might enable?
Perhaps it’s clearer from my elaboration above that the studio output, although leading up to it, is not exclusively architecture. In fact, embodied processes and narratives are also part of my pedagogical processes. However, this will be the first time that they will be explicitly integrated with architectural processes. It will indeed be interesting to witness the “widening & deepening” that this approach may enable.
Also, I wonder if Siddharth has considered leaving the site selection a little more open, to allow inclusion of existing non-performance spaces in case some participant would like to focus on adaptive reuse strategies. In general, I suggest more thought about what the pros and cons of a hypothetical site might be for an exercise like this. As Siddharth may agree, the imperatives of real situations on real sites are often crucial catalysts even for hypothetical design exercises.
I have elaborated above that the sites will be selected by participants from within their familiar contexts of belonging. Consequently, working with strategies of adaptive reuse too are inherent to this studio, which is indeed dependent on the rich amalgam of memory, experience and imagination.
* * * * *
+ only four participants have finally been selected for the program
* Himanshu Burte’s book is out of print; neither could the author help with a copy nor did the publishers – Seagull Books – respond to my email requesting for copies; I have a photocopy of chapters from the book sourced from CEPT University Library, which I sporadically attempt to read but have found overwhelming so far in its lamentation of the apathy of the then extant (2008) artplaces; I don’t think the situation, if not worse, is any better today