Ever wondered why elevators have mirrors or why someone has thoughtfully provided beta fish and magazines at the doctor’s place? They are kept in exchange for all your patience-— preening with a quick glimpse at the mirror and flipping a few pages of that magazine come as life-savers. But if you’re waiting for the metro or a bus, it is invisible until it is right in front of you and the endgame is simply out of sight. But, the ‘8-minute project’ installed by city based artists at the Cubbon Metro had made ‘waiting’ a more fruitful affair and they tell us how.
“The 8 minute project is trying to imitate mini workshops that are informative and which benefits them in daily life. We aim to create learning environments for people who take the metro day in and day out. I have made one video depicting how to read faces (micro expression). Reason being, when people came to the platform they hardly interact or look around. This video gives a play output because people will start looking at other peoples’ faces to see the content of the video shown at that time and similarly keep themselves engaged while they are travelling in the metro,” says Natasha Sharma who is a research associate with a city based design institute.
This novel initiative based on the theme ‘pedagogy and public spaces’ aims at engaging the public in creative thinking and proliferate the idea that creativity is not limited to artists. Tutorials on ladoo making, basket making and binding a book without stitching are among the few videos that are played in the metro currently. According to Amitabh Kumar who led the project, such initiatives will create a platform for diverse voices in contemporary public art practice to converge within the rich urban context of Bangalore.
“It was exciting to learn new skills as we went along the project and I see it as an inquiry into how experience, memory, and fantasy invents the city and also give space for its re-imagining. The metro, within this metropolis, is a symbol of a changing city. It is a new semi-public space that offers opportunities for congregation and social networks,” he says. At a time when road rage and slow-loading web pages have become part of our evolutionary inheritance and impatience runs our daily life, these artists attempt to explore the role of art in everyday life.
“Through this project, we try to explore how art and design practices could play a role in the everyday life of the city folks. The 8 minute project will soon develop into a great platform for convergence of pedagogy and public art,’’ said art curator for the project Yash Bhandari.