Authored by Nirupama Jayaraman
It was a bright, sunny Sunday morning and the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development was abuzz with activity. The BYPASS Lab conducted by the Indo- German Centre for Sustainability in collaboration with Urban Design Collective and Srishti Institute for Art, Technology and Design had commenced. Participants flowed in steadily and were met by the efficient volunteers who registered, guided and then shepherd them towards the orientation session. The workshop was introduced by Dr. Karl Beelen who was followed by Dr. Lalitha from RGNIYD who spoke about the origins of the workshop. She was followed by Lalit Bhati who stressed on the fluidity and “no problem-solution” format of the workshop. Deepta Satheesh then gave a brief introduction to the data gathering and visualization elements of BYPASS Lab. The very first lecture in the workshop on “the Space under my chair” by Karl Beelen. Using the eponymous installation at the Kroller-Muller Museum at a starting point, Beelen spoke about how the everyday can be represented, particularly in the fringes. He urged the participants to explore questions about what is bypassed in the peri-urban scenario especially in terms of infrastructure and to re-imagine the definitions of rural and urban in the context of the peri-urban.
The next lecture was “Investigating Desolate Peripheries” by Durganand Balsavar who started the lecture with the startling proclamation that ‘there is no green-field development, it is only existing infrastructure that is developed’. His lecture touched upon the inherent power discourse in the backdrop of the remarkable development of Sriperumbudur as a peri-urban fringe off of Chennai. The final talk of the day was “The Seen and the Unseen” by Deepta Satheesh where she exhorted the need to engage with the visual paradigm. Satheesh emphasized the importance of design as an attitude, sensibility and as a tool to critique to existing construct.
The evening brought with it an interesting assignment for the participants when they were asked to identify a location on campus and view it through the lenses of five disruptive qualitas. The final agenda for the day was an excursion of the Sriperumbudur taluk, which consisted of a stop at the Chembarambakkam Tank, to allow the participants to take in the area and become exposed to the various realities of the site.
The workshop provides space for the participants to engage with a question on the peri-urban of their own choice. These projects will be team-based and the detailed identification of team members is posted below. We hope to see some exciting work emerge in the course of the week!
N Chandrasekhar Ramanujan
Ganga Dileep C
Parisutha Rajan A
Sarveswaran Ganapathy. SP
Prasoon G Das