Interviews by Mallika Chandra. Images by Naomi Shah.

Vitamin Sea

Do you assume that the pageant supplies guests with a chance to have interaction meaningfully with the Koli fishing neighborhood and the problems that they face at giant?
The pageant at Sassoon Docks acts as a site-specific inventive intervention. I create socially engaged artwork and it’s the way you mould individuals’s minds that’s vital. Town doesn’t know a lot in regards to the Kolis, I don’t assume city dwellers are involved about our ongoing points; they’re busy incomes their livelihoods and pursuing their ambitions. This pageant is an try to redirect consideration in the direction of the problems plaguing the neighborhood.

What was your relationship with Sassoon Docks like in your growing-up years? And did showcasing your work right here deliver again any recollections?
My mom was within the retail fish enterprise for over 40 years and I used to accompany her to Sassoon Docks to purchase fish. I’ve recollections of strolling across the space along with her and imbibing life classes of no-escaping-hard-work. Vitamin Sea is about meals and sustenance. The Kolis worship marine life. The whale shark, for instance, is regionally referred to as Bairi Dev, and it survives on turtles — who we check with as Kasav Dev — and planktons.

Was the fabric chosen from a conceptual in addition to a stylistic viewpoint?
Resin is now a part of our materials tradition. Earlier, our boats and enormous vessels have been made out of jackfruit wooden, however now most of our fishing vessels are made from FRP (fibre-reinforced polymer) resin which, I believe, is an apparent materials to make use of. I like the fabric’s rooted stillness. My indigenous id is all the time mirrored in my artwork apply. The resin I take advantage of is a clear medium — it goes properly with my aesthetics and method of seeing.

Are you able to stroll us by your artistic course of?
I begin by drawing. My sketchbooks usually are not the small A4-sized ones however a lot bigger (7 toes by 5 toes) and mounted on an easel. I preserve drawing in them. The train includes constant engagement. Later, this drawing is remodeled right into a three-dimensional large-scale clay work, for which I take advantage of Shadu clay as it’s native to Mumbai. I get pleasure from doing the whole lot myself, I prefer to work with my palms for that’s what makes us people. It’s a protracted process-based work by which the entire physique is engaged.

The Magic Dice

Your work is motivated by how residing in compact areas may seem like sooner or later….
From our very first conversations with Hanif [Kureshi; co-founder and artistic director of St+art India Foundation] and his workforce, we began creating the concept of a micro-home fit-out, extra as an thought immediate for guests. The huge potential of a pageant like that is that it turns into a market for concepts. We reply, critique, parody and fall in love with our metropolis once more. Our set up was shrunk all the way down to mirror the flats that we spend our lives in — the concrete bins which are offered to us by builders to conduct our life, work and play in.

We do an excellent disservice to our properties once we take them as a right, permitting them to turn out to be static backdrops to our lives. Our properties have the potential to make us extra conscious of our environment, create lively and vibrant lives and make us extra engaged and curious in regards to the world we stay in. However provided that we enable them to, and if we design them to allow this. Our work at Sassoon Docks was located in a very beautiful previous bungalow, completely sq. in plan. We thought it’d be enjoyable to insert a immediate round future residing, a hyperfunctional dice that collapses the performance of a complete dwelling into itself. The concept was to introduce a prototype future dwelling which, ideally, guests might ponder over, critique, talk about and perhaps construct — their very own variations, at their very own properties.

Your work raises questions on the way forward for compact residing areas. Are you any nearer to answering these?
The Magic Dice set up is definitely a part of an extended iterative set of experiments that we’ve been engaged in since 2006. My first dwelling in Ranwar village in Bandra was additionally an train in hyperfunctionality. I lived for 2 years in a 160-square-foot “condo”, with sliding partitions and furnishings that allowed me to have a walk-in wardrobe, a walk-in library, a full-size desk and in addition a king-size mattress, simply by shifting a number of partitions on channels. The act of residing on this form of context, the place I needed to actively create the areas I wanted on an hourly foundation, created a form of choreography with furnishings, and a really lively relationship with the house. We then labored on one other undertaking titled Folly Home that engaged in these inquiries by a 4,000-square-foot area that launched concepts of craft and hypermobility into the combination. Zameer (my brother and co-founder of The Busride Design Studio) constructed hyperfunctional items into his personal condo in Bandra.

Watching guests stroll across the dice after which discovering totally different entry factors into the area, discovering cat doorways and secret cubbyholes, was actually enjoyable. And thru social media we’re in a position to relive a bit of every customer’s expertise. I hope that there’s some resonance, and perhaps a handful of them went again with concepts they’d prefer to discover in their very own properties. I do imagine that hyperfunctionality and intense design detailing workout routines will create the form of properties we’d prefer to stay in, in future cities. Compaction tradition impacts all of us, regardless of our demographic. Even the well-heeled in Mumbai stay their lives out of concrete bins, stacked one above the opposite in an more and more concretised metropolis, and prompts like these could create small cocoons of hyper-utility in areas that desperately want hard-working options. Our properties have to be a minimum of as hard-working as us, if no more. This isn’t only a Mumbai factor, it’s true throughout numerous megalopolises; compaction tradition is enjoying out in more and more attention-grabbing methods. Compaction tradition is endemic, and the town is its manifestation.

Had been the supplies chosen from a conceptual in addition to a stylistic viewpoint?
By way of a considered alternative of fabric, we hoped to create The Magic Dice as a diegetic prototype. A diegetic prototype is a device utilized in speculative fiction, an space of design we’re very actively exploring at the moment. A diegetic prototype is a piece in progress and its solely function is to impress dialogue. The concept is to not create a completed product that may be bought or marketed, however quite a rough-around-the edges scaffolding that customers can flesh out with their very own conceptions of what a house would seem like for them individually. We selected to keep away from a completed thought, in addition to extreme propping. We created nearly the complete construction with a single materials, oriented strand board (OSB), for its tough uncovered visible texture. That is offset by a bunch of merchandise, materials, wallpapers and fittings from Asian Paints, our occasion sponsor, to finish the trimmings of a future dwelling. In taking place this highway, we have been in a position to construct a sure open-endedness to the exploration and keep away from subjective and aesthetically derived responses that have a tendency to remove from the inquiry.

Are you able to stroll us by the method of making the set up?
Our first step in creating the set up was a website go to with the St+artwork workforce, and a form of free-ranging curatorial chat with Hanif, who’s an previous good friend and long-time collaborator. We have been very concerned about exploring the concept of a future-home set inside an old-home context, to spark the creativeness of what life in a metropolis might be like. The Asian Paints Artwork Home additionally served as one of many occasion venues for the pageant, so we had to remember the fundamental actions of crowds. A gathering area was created on the bottom ground for occasions, lectures, discussions, product launches and the NFT (non-fungible token) gallery. And Asian Paints additionally used it to announce the launch of their color of the yr. As we developed the design, we created a bunch of OSB samples exploring therapies and materials juxtapositions, to raised visualise remaining outcomes. Saee [Pagar] from our studio spearheaded the complete construct and labored intently with Suresh [Vishwakarma] and his workforce of carpenters to design and execute the complete area. There was a enjoyable interplay with the Asian Paints workforce as properly, to combine a few of their dwelling merchandise into the area, to supply much-needed context and color to the set up. Being a time-bound, deadline-based construct, it was just about continuous work with every day supervision to make sure all of it got here collectively on time. The spotlight for me was how the completed object blurred the boundary between being a room and an object. It form of behaved like an object within the Artwork Home context, however a room whenever you truly engaged with it.

Toy Faces

How do you assume the idea of nostalgia responded to Sassoon Docks, the positioning of the set up?
Toy Faces is a group of portraits which are pushed by nostalgia and childlike surprise. Toys are objects paying homage to a rare time when the phrase “cynical” wasn’t a part of our vocabulary. The gathering celebrates people and characters by historical past and fictional tales, to remind us of our first sources of inspiration and revisit the emotions that include experiencing complicated worlds for the primary time.

Over the past two years, I’ve created a number of Toy Faces, enjoying with signature bear ears, button eyes and Pinocchio noses with a number of characters and avatars on an open canvas.

On this exhibit, I’ve prolonged the Toy Faces NFT to 5 artists — Atia Sen, Neethi, Osheen Siva, Santanu Hazarika and Zero — taking inspiration from Silver Escapade, the Asian Paints Color of The Yr 2023. The result’s a playful collaboration celebrating the spirit of our youth whereas incorporating numerous types and mediums.

That is the primary time that NFTs have been part of the Mumbai City Artwork Competition. How do you assume the general public has responded and engaged with them?
Digital artwork is without doubt one of the most generally used artwork mediums. NFTs and blockchain have disrupted this medium and allowed it to turn out to be tradable. I’ve obtained an unbelievable public response with quite a few shares and messages in my social media inbox. By being a part of this pageant, Toy Faces has proven us the potential of this medium.

What was it like collaborating with the opposite artists for Toy Faces? Do you see extra artists collaborating within the Web3 area sooner or later?
I agreed to take part within the pageant primarily due to its collaborative nature. At first, I used to be anxious about extending my assortment to artists from totally different mediums nevertheless it quickly grew to become obvious that this may be one in all my finest collaborations.

Web3 is an extremely collaborative area; it’s widespread to work with fellow artists in Web3 and even accumulate artwork from them. Due to much less institutional involvement in Web3, artists rely upon one another extra right here than in conventional areas. Plus, good contracts and blockchain make the complete collaboration very clear.


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