The smell of paint still lingers at the new Bangalore International Centre premises, where a few members wait, taking visitors on walk throughs and making last-minute arrangements before the launch this Sunday. "We haven't had any publicity yet but word gets around," says BIC trustee and urban expert V. Ravichandar. "Already, I'm fending off requests. We're getting bookings for September." If the recent hue and cry over the entrance fee, a paltry Rs 20, at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Bengaluru indicates anything, it is that the city is starved for public spaces. "The need for soft infrastructure is massive," he agrees.
The new Bangalore International Centre premises in Domlur, aims to provide just that. Spread out over 48,000 square feet with a state-of-the-art auditorium, library, gallery, seminar rooms, cafeteria and a sprinkling of hangout spots, the culture-loving Bengalurean is suddenly face-to-face with a large number of options. Music fills the foyer from the auditorium - their audio gear is a point of pride. "We wanted a stage on which a performance could take place," says Amitava Bannerjee, a member of BIC who also handles its programming, during a quick tour of the space. There's a sprawling terrace as well, still decorated with bright green and yellow banners, remnants of their first major event, UNBOX. The amphitheatre will be a space for talks, book readings and the occasional concert, too.
On Friday, Feb 24, when the premises are thrown open to the public, the amphitheatre will double as a book store and a music venue. The auditorium's facilities will be put to full use through the day too, with a performance by Vasu Dixit, contemporary dance by Attakalari and a film screening.
Bangalore Panorama will take place on the first floor with speakers through the day creating a mosaic of the city.Hippocampus will have programming for kids through the day. Thinker Katte, curated by Takshashila, will have experts like Rajeev Gowda taking questions.
The BIC has had a rich presence in the city, having hosted over 750 events in the last decade, says Irina Snassar, who handles curation. "Now, we're creating a space in keeping with the city that Bengaluru is becoming." Inclusivity is the focus, agrees Ravichandar. "Also, people today are becoming increasingly polarised. We want to have a space that is both neutral and inclusive."...