Life Above Concrete
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Four artists come together to create a unique work — a dialogue between architecture and nature
Muziris, now a defunct port that is believed to have existed 3,000 years ago, has become a part of the first Indian biennale after recent archeological excavations threw light on its glorious past. Taking a cue from the Muziris part of the biennale, three Indian artists — Susanta Mandal, M Pravat and Sayantan Maitra Boka — along with Swiss artist Navid Tschopp have dug up the concrete floor of the dockyard at Kalvathy to showcase their site-specific aesthetic construction called Layout 02.
Otherwise working on independent projects and coming from different streams of thought, the four have come together for a collective work for the second time. Before this, Layout 01 — a studio work in brick — was displayed in Delhi earlier this year.
The work at Kochi is a convergence of their distinct approaches — Pravat is a painter, Boka a scenographer, Mandal a kinetic artist and Tschopp is a researcher in the field of transcultural image and context art. They have dug up the abandoned floor and created three chambers underneath to create spatial voids, with two of them having closed ends. The roofs have been covered with soil to give the work an organic touch.
"This would give the visitors an experience of going underground. The construction interrogates the standard engineered urban space of Kochi — Layout 02 would demonstrate that there is life above concrete," says one of them. Mandal explains that local seeds will be sown above the roof of the chambers, leaving them to sprout. "A painter or sculptor can take back his work after an event, whereas we will leave our installation here to grow," he says. Tschopp adds that the collective is practising a creative alternative — a dialogue between architecture and nature.