Authored by Nirupama Jayaraman
The day of the grand finale dawned and some of the last stragglers could still be seen at the studio, desperately tying up the last strands of their presentation. The only agenda of the day was the final presentations of all six groups. With videos and posters to surpass each other, the atmosphere was rather tense with anticipation… in a good way ofcourse!
Group A’s work that started out as a study of the SIPCOT and SIDCO areas morphed into a more focussed study on the tea-stalls in area. The group presented their work using a rich mix of visual media – pop culture references in Tamil cinema focusing on the ubiquitous tea stalls, maps, graphs and images as textual narratives. The project revolved around the key words- “navigate”, “narrate” and “negotiate”, through which they explored the idea of informality. Finally, they also tried to pitch their work with the policy discourse. One can say, the project did manage to paint a story of the tea shops as per their moniker!
Group B’s presentation unfolded through the use of maps and narratives. They tried to understand porosity through the lenses of space, vegetation and neighbourhoods. Perhaps the most interesting section of the project turned out to be the study of notice-boards as symbols that cater to a specific section of the community. The group presented work at different scales – from vegetation mapping by tracing a long route to social porosity through practices, infrastructure and symbols. The group ended by encouraging porosity as a design strategy to drive the city.
Group C studied the negotiations at an intersection near the village of Somangalam. Using the movement of cattle as their starting point to prove physical negotiation, the group spoke about negotiating flows of people, animals and objects as well. With spatial negotiation as a central theme, various narratives were discussed – from religious, to spillover, to proximal, to intangible all the way upto urban aspirations. This project indeed negotiated the bypass roads pretty well!
Liminality of Water
Group D began their project with an aim to provide a historical mapping of the waterbodies in Sriperumbudur area. Beyond mapping, they also presented cross sections of the 6 locations they had chosen across the Taluk of Sriperumbudur. The team presented an understanding not just of the boundary conditions but also of the nature of activities/functions that happen in these spaces of liminality.
Change is the only constant
Group E’s focus on the activity of weaving took them far away to the village of Anagaputhur, through its streets and the houses of the weavers still present. They presented this journey via a heady mix of posters and videos. From how weaving established itself as the prime occupation to how it exists, the group presented a well balanced mix of research ending with an apt analogy between the woven fabric to the fabric of settlement itself. Well commended on their work, the team was asked to further refine the framework apparatus that they had chosen for the presentation to take the idea further.
The Morphology of Social Gathering
Group F, the final group gathered their thoughts rather marvelously over the six days. Beginning with a food trail, the group later used the walk as a lens to understand the overarching experience of gathering in the peri-urban. Using a mixture of illustrations, maps and innovative graphs that showed the temporal variations, the group presented the transaction of the rural and urban occurring in the in-between space of the peri-urban.
The end of the presentations gave way to a cozy session of feedback and suggestions with all participants, volunteers and organizers sitting around in a circle for an informal chat. The participants spoke about the shock of inter-disciplinary collaborations and exposure to multiple methods of visualization, while also providing suggestions to improve the workshop experience through more focused sessions on skill-development.
The end of an intense week-long journey seemed imminent on a positive note with the usual pictures, selfies, certificate distribution and end-of-day confusion of journeys back to the airport and railway station replete with misplaced suitcases! All in all, the week-long BYPASS lab proved to be a wonderfully satisfying experience, that presented a huge learning curve for the participants and organizers alike.