RTA-RITU - An Exhibition on Cosmic Order and Cycle of Seasons
of unplanned cities have emerged to cope with the explosive growth of
world population -partly due to the fast growing network of economic and
political relationships. Within a decade the urbanisation of the community
will be one of the most spectacular changes of our times. By the end of
the century there will be cities with millions of inhabitants, resembling
an outheap of humanity feeding on each other with a tens of thousands of
people every square kilometre. Modern cities are based on the ethos of
self-contained functionalism and a fragmented worldview which separates
humanity from nature. In time to come, our super-cities will be
jeopardized by the violence of techno-era tic worldview.
the new city, nothing of consequence is actually willed or controlled by
decisions made by individual minds. The greatness of the city is no longer
related to the vastness of imagination. It belongs instead to dimension.
The new city has a bigness only
these city garbage heaps, where plastic packets of Maggi noodles mix with
rotting vegetable peels, egg shells and abandoned animal carcasses, it is
now easy to sense the contradictions of the new city. In the tenements
that bled the earth, the overstylized houses of the rich families, the
rows of shops and truck repair docks that stretch city bounds into
surrounding fields, the blackened car windows pasted with the harried
signs of identity: Nathus, Malhotras, Car Decor. The evening dung and coal
fires that spread the darkening pall across the cubical mass of
unplastered walls, the city is a changed theatrical spectacle, a vast
battleground perpetually smoking and smouldering and choking.
the smoke, the stretch of a black plastic sheet pulled unevenly across a
roof of twigs and bicycle tyres, it is difficult to sense anything of the
once high aspirations and ideals that drew people together in the first
place. The city that had once held the promise of an inspiring freedom.
From the distant sight lines of a flyover it has something of the
character of war, a people in temporary flight: the quickly erected stage
set of incomplete structures, the smoke, as if the day’s battle is over
and both sides have retreated into their makeshift encampments.
within it life continues, unfettered by the perspective of loss, despair
the half clad labourers continue carrying concrete up the bamboo and twine
scaffolding, the sun bleached children lie on the sand piles nearby.
Sounds ricochet off the hoarding. The fumes, the fake house front, the
false front of peoples faces, the lie that is a modern city.
View of Beijing city, 1988
the lie has enormous power to seduce, to circumvent the difficult,
despairing reality. But the buildings around the recreated recapped
skylines that wave across the corrugation of monsoon clouds carry their
own ideas of falsehood. Even the architecture remains a mere replication
of an advertising desire.
in the crowd, humans are like a particle in the mass of humanity that
shifts constantly along the sidewalk. People are adrift, seeking ways to
redefine their own passage through the city streets.
only way to survive is to impose one’s own will on the city. So we learn
the proverbial signals, the messages of hostility. We collide and rub and
haggle and protest as we move about the road. On the crowded bus, we learn
to push our way.
Copyright IGNCA© 1999