Mumbai’s ornate ceilings projected on mobile dome
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