I have a little surprise for you all. Ok… the title of this post is a spoiler.
Over the last 3 months I have been involved with ‘The Goa Project’ – an ‘unconference’ of sorts that was recently held on March 28th and 29th at the Marbela Beach Resort in Morjhim Beach, Goa. TGP was a melting pot that harnessed the collective creativity of around 250 interesting individuals from backgrounds as diverse as design, arts, technology, music, science, philosophy, film, social work and much more over the two days. These individuals were brought together under six tracks – entrepreneurship, society, performing arts and music, film, visual arts and fringe- spread over the two days. And yours truly curated the Society Track along with Kavita Gonsalves!
In the midst of the madness of putting together the first edition of an event of this nature, there was a brainwave. I think the mind has its way to circumvent the pressure/ stress and cash in on the situation… And so an idea for an installation was born. I shared it with Kavita and she loved it. But there was a hitch. TGP did not have a venue yet. So the installation moved to the back burner and we got on with the actual task at hand- curating the Society track. The venue was finalized about 20 days before the event and that point I shared the idea with Vijay Anand, host and core team member of TGP. He too loved the idea but because there was no recce done for the venue as yet there was no way to figure out if the venue could physically accommodate the installation or the event itself for that matter! I just sighed and let it pass.
We were to leave for Goa on the morning of 27th March and the previous evening I decided that to get all the material ready for the installation to go up with plan A, B and C in mind… I got all the prints ready and Mahesh Radhakrishnan helped out with a last minute trip to the hardware store for more supplies that nearly made us miss our flight. After that, I left it to the cosmic forces to see if the installation would go up or not. If it did, that would be fantastic… if not, atleast I’d know that I did everything I could. So we reached Marbela beach resort on 27th evening and were very pleasantly surprised by how beautiful and charmingly laid out it was! But there was way too much work to be done to get it into shape to host the various tracks before TGP could kick off the following morning. That night the venue curation crew worked until dawn and we reached the venue on 28th morning after a few hours of sleep to see it transformed into the perfect shell that was going to hold all the 250-odd amazing people that began trickling in. TGP had indeed kicked off! At the end of the first day, all the minor venue-related glitches had been ironed out and everyone was breathing easy… the 2nd day of the event was going to be a breeze for all of us… organizers included. So by the morning of 29th March, the stars had aligned and UDC was ready for its first appearance in Goa with its first art installation!!!!
So what was the installation all about?
The Goa Project is all about meeting people and getting them together in an environment that fosters collaborations. The installation is an attempt to facilitate just that… by getting people to share what they have and get what they want.
And how does the installation achieve this?
The installation titled ‘The Haves and Wants Wall‘ is a metaphorical wall that is first created by the participants and then brought down by the participants themselves.
The wall is constructed in 2 halves by people putting up ‘I have’ and ‘I want’ notes. On one half, people were asked to put up notes saying ‘I have……..’ wherein they will filled up the blank with something they believe they have in surplus and can share with the world. On the other half, people were asked to put up notes saying ‘I want…….’ wherein they filled up the blank with something they really want but don’t have and would be glad to have someone help them get it. Participants were free to write anything they want on the notes and also leave their name and contact info on the rear side. The two sets of notes were in 2 different colours of paper to distinguish them clearly and were neatly pinned up onto the skeleton framework that was laid out for the ‘wall’.
Simultaneously, people were free to visit the wall, read the notes and contact the person that filled them up if there was a match between their ‘haves’ and ‘wants’. This way the seeds would have been sowed for a potential collaboration between the two individuals as they set out to address their ‘I have’ versus ‘I want’ disconnect.
The wall itself was meant to be a metaphor for people’s inhibitions bred by their limitations which they would release onto the notes and by doing so they enable these inhibitions to be broken down by the sheer act of sharing them with others knowing that there was a possibility for them to be addressed. This act of sharing/ asking is also made easier by the fact that in return one could give what they saw as their own strengths.
In a broader sense, the installation was also envisioned as a microcosm of what our society wants and thinks that it already has considering that The Goa Project was a melting point of people from various walks of life.
Honestly though, the installation was a social experiment as was The Goa Project and it was difficult to predict what it would throw up. But by lunch hour, the ‘wall’ was bursting with so many interesting notes… and we documented each and every one of them! Here is a set of photographs showing a selection of the notes and people’s interaction with the installation itself-
For more photos, please click on this link- http://tinyurl.com/UDCatTGP
Photographs courtesy- Sonaal Bangera
UDC would be glad to put up this installation again at any other event/ space/ neighbourhood/ city as a means to engage with the community. Simply write to us at email@example.com if you are interested.
Vidhya is a reserved architect and an impassioned urban designer with over a decade of work experience in India, Ireland and the United States. She has also been teaching as a guest faculty at various institutions since she returned to India in 2008. In other parallel albeit real universes, she is a wishful artist, an avid wanderer, a constant gardener and a newly enthused cook.