Saturday, December 13

Art along the Metro

On this blog I have often argued about using the Metro as more than something to get from place A to B. Most cities with older subways use the stations and its surroundings as public spaces with all kinds of stuff happening around you when you get there - weekly markets, musicians performing & art installations.

The metro in Delhi seems to be an exception. Which is strange since the city has so many small enclaves of public spaces that are regular meeting places. Come winter Dilli Haat, Pragati Maidan & CP often have regular events. But no one has really tried anything with the Metro.

I guess the argument always is that if I am traveling why would I want to break my journey and watch a performance or an installation. That's funny because we often stop to watch an ad running on the many TV screens on the Metro. If curated in an innovative manner the Metro can become a showcase public art and performances.

That is what 48C is about. They claim that this is Delhi's first public arts festival which is a point of debate but what cannot be argued is that they have decided to hold the event along Metro stations all over the city and in a sense brought art to public spaces. And it is not just art installations - open air film screenings, walks & discussions. They have a blog with an update each day.

In each of the locations, as you walk out you there is a map to guide you to the installations within walking distance. Another short ride on the Metro and you reach the next location. The staions chosen are close to the very popular Jantar Mantar to the forgotten Roshanara Bagh.

Having the event around the metro stations makes it accessible and in a sense "forces" you to use public transport. Unlike other public events there are no parking spaces for cars. (Although I know many who would still have to drive to CP and then use the Metro to other locations). In any case everyone would end up using cycle rickshaws or walking to the actual locations. What a better way to explore the Metro, see contemporary art and also rediscover the city.

I had a chance to see a some of the work on display in CP today. Will be making a longer trip tomorrow.

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