Mum­bai’s or­nate ceil­ings pro­jected on mo­bile dome

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Aye­sha.Venkatara­man @times­

LookUpMum­bai is both an ex­hi­bi­tion and an in­vo­ca­tion for Mum­baikars to pay more at­ten­tion to the beauty sur­round­ing them. How of­ten do we stop to be­hold the ar­chi­tec­tural in­tri­ca­cies that per­me­ate our ev­ery­day lives, found in homes, of­fices, places of wor­ship and pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions in this city? To that end, an art in­stal­la­tion has been set up at the Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ma­haraj Vastu San­gra­ha­laya (CSMVS) till the 28th, of­fer­ing a look at 68 ceil­ings of Mum­bai’s her­itage and con­tem­po­rary build­ings.

The mu­seum’s dome is the epi­cen­tre of the pro­ject, be­neath which a “DomeLab” has been con­structed as a por­ta­ble can­vas dis­play­ing pro­jected im­ages of ceil­ings. Th­ese in­clude Gate­way of In­dia, Sid­dhiv­inayak Tem­ple, Bhau Daji Lad Mu­seum, Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji In­ter­na­tional Air­port T2, Adish­warji Jain Tem­ple to be viewed while re­clin­ing on a couch un­der the dome.

It’s a rare op­por­tu­nity to see ceil­ings fea­tur­ing neo-Gothic, Indo-Saracenic and Art Deco ar­chi­tec­tures, amongst oth­ers, in ar­rest­ing clar­ity, cap­tured us­ing a tech­nique called gi­gapixel pho­tog­ra­phy with a high-end dig­i­tal cam­era and a motorized rig. When asked the im­pe­tus for this pro­ject, led by Univer­sity of New South Wales pro­fes­sor Sarah Ken­der­dine and funded by the Aus­tralian Re­search Coun­cil, with col­lab­o­ra­tors across var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions and mu­se­ums, Ken­der­dine said, “The philoso­pher Villem Flusser wrote: ‘We live in two worlds: one that is given and the other that is pro­voked by the at­ten­tion we pay to it.’ In the course of our daily lives the ar­chi­tec­tural con­text and es­pe­cially its ceil­ings that we sel­dom look up to con­tem­plate, tend to be­long to the in­sen­si­ble world ‘that is given’. LookUpMum­bai sets out to re­lo­cate th­ese ceil­ings in the other world, the one ‘that is pro­voked by the at­ten­tion that we pay to it’, and in so do­ing fo­cus the multi-cul­tural rich­ness and di­ver­sity of th­ese struc­tures as ob­jects of aes­thetic al­lure, tech­no­log­i­cal won­der and empyrean fas­ci­na­tion.”

Ken­der­dine has even paid at­ten­tion to the tran­si­tion be­tween im­ages, which de­con­structs the pixel struc­ture of each im­age be­fore blend­ing them, so as to me­di­ate be­tween the per­cep­tual shifts in scale and form with each un­fold­ing im­age. She says, “This cin­e­matic trompe l’oeil of struc­tural con­junc­tions and icono­graphic in­ter­po­la­tions creates an aes­thetic re­vi­sion­ing of th­ese var­i­ous sites, and they be­came re­me­di­ated as a nar­ra­tive se­quence that fo­cuses their spa­tial, for­mal and pic­to­ri­ally as­so­cia­tive qual­i­ties.” Adding, “An un­der­ly­ing sym­bolic di­men­sion also re­veals it­self, as the ar­chi­tec­ture of th­ese ceil­ings of­ten im­ply cor­re­spon­dences of cos­mo­log­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.”

This is just the be­gin­ning, as the art­work can be ex­panded and the dome moved to dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions.

The ex­hi­bi­tion is on at Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ma­haraj Vastu San­gra­ha­laya

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