« The Pong Dress | Main | Interactive Architecture dot Org X 4 »

August 24, 2006

My Building and the Sheher


How is the idea of a community changing?

My Building and the Sheher, by Abhinandita Mathur and Venu Mathur, presents a visual essay on our building, where about 100 Mathur families reside. Shree Ganesh Group Housing Society is one of the many housing Societies in Patparganj that came up in the 80's, defining a new way of life for middle class Delhi.

The Mathurs are a close knit community and have a special relationship to the city of Delhi. Most families from this building can trace their history to the old city or Sheher.

This relationship between the community and the city was once well known and evident. It was apparent in the way of life, language, food, clothing and culture. The photographs document how the community has adapted to suburban living while continuing with some of its traditional ways. The project also contains an archive of these old traditions, such as typical songs and recipes of the community.

Through this assemblage of the present documentation and the archives of the past, this project attempts to map out the journey of the community and the city from the past to what it is today.

The project engages with the following ideas:

Social history

The history of the Mathur community and the city are closely related. Therefore by researching the history, studying the changing culture and documenting the community life of Dilliwale Mathurs the project attempts to correlate the history of the city and the community. Also, how does this community view the change in the city?

Community and culture

Certain cultural practices are developed and nurtured within a community setup. How has this Mathur community retained some of these cultural practices and how have these changed since the days of living in the Shahar? What strategies did the community develop to retain some of these cultural practices and how have they adapted to change?

Concept of community living

The community can be a site of conflict between the individual and society. The idea of personhood is determined by the competition between the individual v/s family v/s clan v/s caste v/s class v/s state… In the clash between tradition and modernity which of these social units are becoming more dominant over the others? How is this Mathur community facing up to these challenges?

Transforming communities

How is the idea of a community changing? No longer confined by physical and geographical proximity, old communities are using telecommunication technologies to retain and propagate their networks. How is this Mathur community coping with nostalgia? Is there a clash between the hardliners and the liberals and who is winning? Have the individuals of this community found stronger associations in newer communities based on alma mater, profession, class status, specific interests, political affiliations, sexual preferences, etc.?

[via sarai.net]

Posted by jo at August 24, 2006 06:35 PM