‘Sodium Vapour | A festival of curiosities and adventures in Cubbon Park’

After working in several public spaces to demonstrate creative practice in Bangalore since 2008, we return to where we started: Cubbon Park. We turn to the essence of the Sodium Vapour lamp as we look at the park through different textures of time. To comprehend nostalgia with the desire of the future inscribed on an everlasting present.

Sodium Vapour has let us see the city in a different light. The sodium has to vaporise before the light gives full power, this is why they can be seen glowing dimly for some time before going bright. She takes her time to disclose herself. The warmth it emanates allows for an endless search without the fear of being noticed. It invites us into darkness like a child following its instinct.

The meanings of Cubbon Park have shifted over time, from protest to celebration to jamming to policing to now, a metro station,all at the risk of rapid privatisation. Like textures of a photograph changed with technology, Cubbon Park has transformed through the variations of different Bangalores. Sometimes it appears static, as if nothing has changed; at other times it feels like it is in flux; and at other times, completely unfamiliar.

Given that Cubbon park is on the brink of a certain kind of change, we entered the park with a few questions: o

Is a growing metropolis caught in a ‘development’ narrative? Is a public park a strategic site that caters to the display of this development? How does it change/affect existing dynamics in the park?

How does design, architecture and aesthetics influence the way the public moves and uses a public space?

What are the different imaginations of the park seen by different publics? How do people already negotiate what is disallowed? Is there a growing rebellion and subversion that challenges the status quo? What forms does it take?

Through the month, we explored these questions through various creative practices.

Featured works

The Legend of Nowhere | Scavenger Hunt A journey through Bal bhavan guided by stories and clues. A phantasm of a child’s dreamland brought to life. Featuring: a fable; a snail who lost it’s shell and has grown metallic bones, a clown caught mid-smile, a dragon that has lost its flames, a woman frozen in ‘Brake Dance’, abandoned automobiles, and birds with songs in their bellies. What secrets does the park hold?

Eye Balloons | Film Screenings A series of films on the simultaneous interplay of inertia and momentum in cities we inhabit and wish to abandon. The dream of elsewhere, haunts:

Tishe!|Viktor Kossakovsky
Video Game|Hawa Mahal|Chitra Sutram-Vipin Vijay
Instructions for a light and sound machine|Peter Tscherkassky
Tale of Tales|Yuriy Norshetyn
Nausicaa of the valley of wind|Hayao Miyazaki
Colour of the Pomegranate|Sergei Parajanov

Songs of the Rainbird A line. A wave. A ripple. A long, taut length of string, by the very nature of its form cuts through space. It seems rigid, inconsequential in the vastness, and is almost invisible. It is from this state of tension, from this apparent stillness, that it comes alive when touched. A sound begins, slowly rising. Songs of the Rainbird combines our experiences of the city into a performance-happening.A work in progress performance by Harshika Amin & Aruna Manjunath

Storytelling on the Park Bench Park benches transform with people who occupy it.
Stories, incidents and fictions emerged from strangers who just needed us to say, and then? An invitation to the park bench to listen to stories from Cubbon Park. The park bench became a trigger to share stories, memories and experiences of Cubbon Park.

Greetings from the Scarecrow The scarecrow is ephemeral, a liminal figure traveling across various cultural contexts. This October, it wandered into Cubbon Park. All through the month we invited people to make their own scarecrows. Scarecrows came to life embodying memories, desires and fantasies in the park. The scarecrow can speak,where we fall silent.

Secrets from the Scarecrow | Exhibition after a month in Cubbon Park, going down dark alleys and unknown corners, we found a Cubbon Park, that we had not sensed before. Safeguarding these “dangerous” creatures we created through the month, from fire and rain, suspicious eyes of authorities, the exhibition presented secrets from our brief encounters in the park. ‘Secrets from the Scarecrow’ was organized in Venkatappa Art Gallery and was a culmination of our month in the park.