Strwüü's Residency Archive
STRWUEUE @ ISRO (Oct - Dec 2019)
In our opinion, residencies are entry points into a previously unknown social structure with the artistic community woven into them. The ingenious construction of the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan itself acts as a superordinate structure, which forwards the residents to regional institutions, gives an inkling of the well-knit organisation of this artist residency.
We were hosted by the Indian Sonic Research Organisation (ISRO), who provided us with a studio, wherein we quickly got connect with other local artists. This soon brought us to an interaction with Pascal Sieger and Yashas Shetty. We recorded a performance in a Chromakey studio and later also took the materials with us for further processing.
With the kind support of the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, ISRO also organised an apartment for us, where we lived together with professors and guest lecturers of the Institute. We really appreciated it and as expected, this led to some exciting evening talks on our soon-to-be-loved balcony, which was occasionally steered in new directions by the local monkey pack at decisive moments.
COMPLEX SYSTEMS / FRUSTRATION AND EQUANIMITY
Even if the residents and visitors of Bangalore always like to complain about the local traffic, it still becomes a central motif of our interest with its own aesthetic and rules. We instantly switched into "local mode" and increasingly travelled through the city by local buses instead of taxis as we did in the first week. In the beginning this was somehow difficult, sometimes also led us in the wrong directions or took endlessly long, cumbersome detours until we got the hang of it more and more.
We soon got the impression that like the traffic or public transport of this city, a lot of things here at first glance seem chaotic, but actually conceal clear rules and principles of order. We can only guess at the logistics behind the cosmos of markets, with its thousand streets and decentralised tiny stores, which are full of billboards and a wide assortment of products that would make any shopping centre fearful.
The food delivery system of the "Dabbawala" in Mumbai has already been closely observed by others. The Dabbawalas deliver about 200,000 meals a day during lunchtime and return the empty dabbas in the afternoon. The entire organisation of this system seems almost impenetrable, but there are various studies that have focussed on the dabbawala system because of its high efficiency, incredibly low susceptibility to errors or its successful logistics system. And similarly the laundry process at the famous open air laundromat Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat is organised according to the division of labour and follows a clear code system.
Above all, however, everything here is one thing: a lot! The ancestral stories of the deities are exuberant, as are the opinions of what is sacred, the large number of different languages or that almost every family has an idea of what you should eat and what you can't. Everything is interwoven with thousands of rules.
We began to compare these seemingly chaotic organisational systems with the compositional rules of Hindustani classical music, more specifically: raga and tala, the two basic structures of melody and rhythm. Under this system, the music quickly sounds unpredictable and confused to non-Indian ears, but also follows fixed rules which, among other things, precisely defines the possibilities of improvisation.
We wondered whether the people here, simply because they grew up with such music, have internalised other types of organisational principles, or whether the music is a result of such structures that are absorbed through the society, and whether such phenomena may also be found in other cultures.
During our stay, our host Yashas Shetty organised a visit for us to the laboratories of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). We met the scientists Dr. Mukund Thattai and Dr. Shannon Olsson, whom we interviewed about our assumptions about traffic and regional social structure, and soon moved to the topics of frustration of molecules, virtual realities for insects and the influence of city traffic on food preparation.
These observations and discussions were the main impulses for the development of the concept already outlined in our proposal: our interest in constantly optimised solutions for everyday situations and objects in motion.
We planned three events, each reflecting their own sub-areas of civil self-organisation and sonic culture from different perspectives.
A concert that we played in an abandoned subway tunnel with our newly-developed drum sound modules and a powerful 4.2 sound system.
An exhibition in the gallery of the Bangalore International Centre, in which we loosely linked Heidegger's "equanimity to things and openness to the mysteries" with the attitude and chaotic appearance of Indian organisational phenomena in a sound installation through artistic double pendulums.
We organised an evening at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, which focussed on the cultural and political peculiarity of club culture as a safe space and generator of ideas. The evening was split into three micro-events: a film screening, a panel discussion and a subsequent music night with regional and international DJs.
We wanted to position the event as a communication platform for the situation in Bangalore, which has changed a lot over the past few months, making it almost impossible for clubs to exist. The programme made references from the local status quo to the rave culture of the early '90s in England, as well as to current issues in Tbilisi.
Unfortunately we had to cancel this event at the last moment due to a short-term announcement by the government, which - what an irony of fate - prohibited any evening events for that day. Nevertheless, we would like to thank all artists, thinkers, activists, ex-club owners and DJs who kindly agreed to participate or let us show their films.
All in all, we can say that we perceived the cooperation with the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan as very friendly, highly professional and fully supportive of our work. In particular, we would like to thank Dr. Heimes, Maureen Gonsalves and Charlotte Rauth from the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, as well as Yashas Shetty, Mr. P, Mr. N and Sushil Sylvester from the Indian Sonic Research Organisation, the team of Art in Transit, especially Arzu Mistry and Yash Bhandari and Raghu Tenkayala from the Bangalore International Centre.