Dispersed, temporary structures designed for gathering, to create fresh imaginations and bring a publicness to the pursuit of intellectual life in the localities.
In January 2008, the Dakshinpuri Cybermohalla Lab created a low cost structure on stilts (machaan) on a street corner, where people could come and read out their writings publicly every evening. This was conducted over a month, and hosted between seven to ten people every day, bringing into publicness the prevalent, but private, practice of reading and writing in the locality. It also brought back into conversation many among the 150 young people who have passed through the Dakshinpuri Lab since 2002, with the present lab practitioners.
Some of the mobile videos of the readings, made by the practitioners, can be seen here, here and here. On January 26, Dastangoi performers Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Hussain were invited to give a performance on the machaan. A local cable operator was invited to videograph and broadcast this performance over his cable network, as a pilot to test the possibility of such an infrastructure for the entire duration of a temporary structure, in the future.
In the dense neighbourhood of LNJP, the roof top provides for a space that allows for gathering of all age groups. In the beginning of 2008, the Cybermohalla Lab at LNJP began creating a micro-space of gathering on a roof in LNJP using innovatively designed furniture and objects with craftsmen from the locality.
The idea for this space was as a site of sustained dialogues and conversations with people from the neighbourhood about possible forms of gathering and creative ways of thinking about the histories and making of objects in LNJP. The locality has innumerable talented craftsmen who work across the city, and this intervention was to open up creative possibilities of conversation with them. Also, given that LNJP lives under the threat of demolition, this act has the potential to open out the immense talent and creative possibilties of people in the neighbourhood, and so be a counter to the fatigue caused by the discourse of imminent demolition.
Several models were created, and one was realised over three months (January to March 2008) in collaboration with Raju bhai, a local artisan.