Sunday, March 30, 2008

Eco-friendly building materials, alternative technology, and an architecture that is energy-efficient and climate-responsive

Building the Indian way DESIGN Gargi Gupta New Delhi Business Standard March 29, 2008

Is there an architectural style that you can identify as “contemporary Indian”? Jagan Shah, architect and historian, feels there is and picks on 20 mid-career architects — he calls them the “new moderns” — for an exposition of the “contemporary Indian” (Contemporary Indian Architecture, Roli).

So what is the “contemporary Indian”? No, it’s not an architectural style that merely tacks on “Indian” motifs or symbols to the structure, or mimics vernacular architecture. No, in a globalised world, an architect can’t simply get by on national identity.

What ties together the architects Shah picks on are “multidisciplinary insights” and a widening of respective agendas to include concerns about climate, ecology and gender. It is through the description of structures by them that he comes to a definition of the “contemporary Indian”.

Shah refers to two other vital issues which have had an impact on “creative” expression — the diminishing role of the state in commissioning public buildings, and the fact that with globalisation, architects are concentrating on delivery schedules, quality, detailing, engineering and programming skill. Here’s a look at some of the architects whose works he holds up

Walls have eyes

Auroville-based Anupama Kundoo is first on the list and it is her own residence that Shah holds up as an example of the “contemporary Indian”, identifying it in her attention to three areas: “Eco-friendly building materials, alternative technology, and an architecture that is energy-efficient and climate-responsive”.

Called “The Wall House”, Kundoo’s house is only 2.2 metres wide, made of exposed brick that’s scaled down to the smaller proportions of the local achakal brick.

It’s most distinctive feature is a two-storey-high vaulted verandah at the entrance, made of interlocking clay tubes, which is not just cheap, it is also great for insulation. Energy and costs have been further lowered by the use of solid stone and recycled wood.

Aurodhan Gallery has the city’s finest collection of contemporary Indian art

Pondicherry’s French Connection By MATT GROSS NYT: March 30, 2008

Farther north lay the Aurodhan Gallery, perhaps the city’s finest collection of contemporary Indian art. After browsing three floors of brilliant Ganesh portraits and somber neo-Expressionist scenes of old men drinking and playing checkers, I asked the gallery owner’s wife, Shernaz Verma, what to do next. She suggested I visit the French Institute and Auroville — a utopian community founded by the Sri Aurobindo Society, whose followers were, for many years, Pondy’s main tourists — but warned I shouldn’t expect a vacation crammed with activities.
In Pondicherry, she said, “there’s not much to see, but a lot to feel.”

Auroville, just over the border in Tamil Nadu state, was founded by a society devoted to the guru Sri Aurobindo in the 1960s and is now home to more than 1,700 people from more than 40 countries. At the center of this “ideal township” is the Matrimandir, a dimpled golden globe where the late guru’s followers meditate. Auroville also has the closest beaches to Pondicherry.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

For Deleuze, art is to be thought on the side of production, but without a centralized designer be it God or man

larvalsubjects Says: March 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Both Deleuze and Whitehead see being in aesthetic or artistic terms as creations or inventions. This is one of the key claims of Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism, which proposes to united the two sundered halves of the aesthetic. Whitehead sees beauty as a central principle in the production of beings. Shaviro has done truly outstanding (and humbling) work on the intersection of Deleuze and Whitehead which you can find over at The Pinocchio Theory. You might find his article entitled “The Wrenching Duality of the Aesthetic” especially interesting in this connection. These can be found here:
Remember, one of the key issues at work in these questions is that of immanence. That is, how are we able to think the emergence of order without presupposing design or a maker. This is why I hesitate in response to your remarks about aesthetics (Kant famously argued that Beauty is a trace of design in nature in the Critique of Judgment).

For Deleuze, art is to be thought on the side of production, but without a centralized designer be it God or man. Deleuze is thoroughly Darwinian, in this sense, not because he accepts natural selection as the central mechanism, but because like Darwin he thinks the emergence of forms and order without any form or design preceding these forms and organization. The forms of life, existence, society, art, etc., are thus creations in a quasi-artistic or aesthetic sense. I’ve discussed this quite a bit on the blog in relation to Deleuze.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

An Exhibition of Ceramics by Anna and Saraswati

Pottery Poetry
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture until 10 March) ::: 10:00 AM
The Russian Pavilion Group presents POTTERY POETRY
An Exhibition of Ceramics by Anna and Saraswati
Opening Saturday, March 1st, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. until the 10th of March, 2008 at The Pavilion of Tibetan Culture International Zone, Auroville posted by jill

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The dawn of spirituality, human unity and goodwill

Other States - Puducherry Images that capture the spirit of Auroville on display
Serena Josephine. M The Hindu Saturday, Mar 01, 2008
Aurodhan’s Lalit Verma has showcased rare photographs at Bharat Nivas
— Photo: T. Singaravelou Speaking volumes: President of Aurodhan Lalit Verma takes exponent of classical dance Mallika Sarabhai on a tour of an exhibition of his rare photographs at Bharat Nivas on Thursday. PUDUCHERRY:

Transcending barriers of language and culture, a photography exhibition here attempts to convey the values that Auroville stands for.
Words apart, the pictures at the photography exhibition display some of the golden moments in time.
As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Auroville, president of Aurodhan Lalit Verma has put up some of his rare collections of photographs at Bharat Nivas.
The exhibition was inaugurated on February 28 and will be on till March 31.
Mr. Verma established Aurodhan nearly 10 years ago in Puducherry “to try and raise the art consciousness” here. He created the statue of Sri Aurobindo that was installed at Savithri Bhavan on the 40th birth anniversary of Auroville.
Titled ‘les moments d`ores’ (golden moments), the photography exhibition has Auroville as its central theme. This is Mr. Lalit Verma’s first exhibition at Auroville.

“One of the highlights of the exhibition is a photograph which was taken on the last birthday of Auroville. It shows a gap in the cloud and sunlight passes through the banyan tree at Matrimandir. There are 12 rays of the sun representing The Mother’s symbol. It was like a gift to me,” Mr. Verma said.
While the eye searched for inner meanings in the photographs, Mr. Verma explains, “It shows all the values that represent Auroville, including the dawn of spirituality, human unity and goodwill.”
Going a step further, he stressed the need for people to act always with the highest aspirations to bring harmony in the world.
“I have displayed a photograph of a tsunami girl who lost her family in Puducherry. Her smile is simply unbelievable,” he said of one picture.
Thirty-three photographs have been displayed at the exhibition. The photography exhibition will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day till it closes.