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The Urban Day at the Urban Mela

BANGALORE01 Jul 2012

Venue Cultural Pavilion, Grounds next to Bangalore Palace
Opening Time11:00 AM
Entry Free. All are welcome!

The critical urban talk series, under the banner of the year of Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities, is organised around a survey and practical design of urban development in India and Bangalore. In particular the talks will question the existing status quo of urban planning and will critically address various issues related to urban transformation in India in applied and innovative ways.

The first critical urban talk, Our Public Sphere, addresses questions on construction of public and private spaces  and shows examples of performative interventions within the city and city spheres from the larger perspective of urban infrastructure to a people-oriented perspective.  The role of art and perception will be focused on.

The second critical urban talk, Our House, discusses 'Housing' on the background of 24 million missing housing units in India. The increased demand for affordable housing has various causes. In the case of Bangalore one crucial driver of housing shortage has been the growth of Bangalore's population, exponential by migration. Affordable housing just slowly emerges from the shadow of the global discourses of Megacities Real Estate Boom or slum upgrading. Hence the crucial question will be how housing should be defined, designed and communicated into the urban population.

The third critical urban talk, Our City, challenges the question of the 'political economy': the multiple networks of relationships between people, space and wealth. The underlying question that arises is the relation between informal and formal processes, between global and local scales and the change of private and public spaces. The striking question will be - what is an Indian city?

The format: Critical Urban Talk has a time slot of 75 minutes for each session to highlight title, theses, facts and questions. The talk will start with a thematic input of 5 minutes and 3 crucial questions. 

Website: www.mod.org.in

Information on the artists

Stefanie Bürkle is a Berlin based artist and Professor of Visual Arts at the Technical University in Berlin. Her artistic practice range from painting, to photography, to postcards, to photograph-based Wallpapers, to video installations. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna (Univie) (for her dissertation titled, 'City as Stage, Architecture as Scenography'), a Masters in Scenography of the Zürich University of Arts (ZHdK) and a Diploma of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. In her artistic research projects she explores themes such as 'stage', 'artificial worlds', 'facade architecture' and 'place-making'. The project "Beirut Berlin", a comparison of two divided cities after war, "Eiscafé Venezia" in German middle towns and lately, "Berliner Tapete", the transformation of a public building (the Palast der Republik, former GDR representation building) to wallpaper for the private space, are some of her works. "Loi chao tu Hanoi", a photo/videoprojekt about Vietnamese live in Germany has been shown in Hanoi, Berlin and Leipzig in 2007 and 2008. In her recent research project 'Migration of Places' she brings together an interdisciplinary team of artists and scientist to retrace different migrant perspectives on to the fall of the wall in Berlin www.placemaking.de. Her projects are linking Art and Science to rethink common perceptions of the city, to provide new readings of surface projections and the hidden spaces behind them. In 2010 she received the Art and Science Berlin Award for a photometric project with the DLR (Germany's national research center for aeronautics and space) and the Fraunhofer Institute, Adlershof.

Stefanie Bremer is an urban traffic planer. She studied at the Technical University of Berlin and at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. She worked for several years as an assistant professor at the Department of Building Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. In 2008 she joined the urban planning office , Orange Edge, in Hamburg. Orange Edge is an urban and traffic planning office that works in the field of integrated planning. The office works for German cities, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, different urban planning and cultural institutions and private companies, such as the Volkswagen AG. For Stefanie's work, the office gained awards too. Recently the "Barcode A40/B1" we nominated for the German Urban Design Award. A street, a highway, a railway station. Traffic infrastructure is still crucial for urban growth and development. But the planning process and the implementation is getting more and more complicated due to elaborated laws as well as budget allowances or public resistances. Modern engineers have to work multilayered. They have to be environmentalists, economists, artists as well as social workers und urban planners -all in one.

Archana Prasad, is an artist from Bangalore, India. Her work is a particular conjunction of visual art, technology and urban community art, and is steeped in design and research methodologies. As Co-Founder & Director of Jaaga (www.jaaga.in), Archana has a unique artist-activist role. She works towards building a stronger arts community and positively impacting public perception of art, artists and art-practices in Bangalore. She seeks to harness the possibilities offered by the Internet in this negotiation. Archana has a keen interest in documentation and creating public awareness of Bangalore's socio-cultural heritage, and many of her projects do so using a combination of digital technology and social research, design and art processes.

Archana's recent projects  Jaaga - Creative Common Ground,  Malleswaram Accessibility Project -Participatory Neighbourhood Accessibility and Heritage Identification, We Are Here - Phone Based Urban Excursions into Bangalore city,  Neighbourhood Diaries - Stories and Histories of Neighbourhoods in Bangalore.

Manisha Agarwal is an Architect, Urban Designerand Academician who resides and practices in Mumbai. She received her Diploma in Architecture in 1996 from CEPT, Ahmedabad. In 1994 she received a fellowship for the student exchange program at the Bezalel Academy of Arts. Jerusalem, Israel. After a brief professional training period at Reinhold Pingel in Auroville, she worked  with Kiran Kapadia Associates, Bombay. She further pursued her Masters in Architecture (Urban Design) during 1998-2000 at Cornell University, New York, where she was awarded several grants. In 2000-2001 she worked as a project architect at Rafael Vinoly Architects in New York. She has been a research and teaching assistant at Cornell University and is currently visiting faculty at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture, Mumbai. In 2001, she founded MO-OF along with her partner Shantanu Poredi. MO-OF offers integrated design for the built environment, encompassing master planning, urban design, architecture, exhibition and interior design. The practice has been informed by pedagogy and academic research through a multidisciplinary approach to design and its execution.

Vishnu Swaminathan, Director, Full Economic Citizenship Initiative (India) - Ashoka Innovators for the Public has more than 14 years of experience as an entrepreneur and innovator. He started two IT-based companies in Singapore in the areas of Financial Transactions and Animation Technology. After one of the companies was acquired, he moved to India to head a leadership school based in Pune, where he led the school's social effort by creating an independent Centre for Social Development. He worked on large Government projects with an aim to use the surplus money to fund CSO's. Most recently he headed the National Innovation Foundation, a government-sponsored CSO that nurtures grassroots-innovation across India. He started his career as a 3D and Film Special Effects artist, later turning towards project management. He holds a couple of patents from his ventures. He has worked on a wide range of technologies, projects, training and strategic business models and been a leader at those initiatives. He holds an MBA from the University of Southern Queensland.

Rachel Lee is a Berlin based architect and architectural historian. She studied architecture and urban planning at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and at the Berlin School of Art. Since surveying Chemrey monastery in Ladakh with an INTACH grant, she has sustained a great interest in Indian architecture and planning. She is currently completing her doctoral thesis on the architect and planner Otto Koenigsberger's work in India at the Habitat Unit of the Technical University, Berlin. As well as investigating Koenigsberger's work in terms of exile, Rachel Lee's thesis reveals Koenigsberger's commitment to low-cost, place-specific architecture, derived from the careful study of local cultural needs, environmental conditions and existing building materials and forms. As an architect she worked on sustainable urban development strategies with Experiment City. She is also a German management committee member of the EU project, European Architecture Beyond Europe.

V. Naresh Narasimhan, is Managing Partner of Venkataramanan Associates (VA), a renowned 40-year-old architecture firm based in Bangalore. He graduated in Architecture from the Manipal Institute of Technology, and in Project Appraisal and Risk Management from Harvard. Naresh has led the expansion of VA into diversified markets with particular strengths in Research and Development, Specialized Manufacturing, IT Business Parks, public and institutional buildings, corporate offices and realty. With a sound understanding of global trends in project planning, architectural design, urban design, and infrastructure within a sustainable framework, Naresh also has a keen interest in design theory, economic modelling and information systems. A Fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects, as well as a Founder-Member of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF), a public-private initiative to address the problems of Bangalore's infrastructure. He advises urban government agencies on infrastructure development and is also Director of Janaadhaar, a Bangalore based social housing company.

Shantanu Poredi is an Architect, Urban Designer, Academician and currently resides and practices in Mumbai. He received his Diploma in Architecture in 1996 at CEPT, Ahmedabad. In 1991 he did his professional training with Mr. Anant Raje in Ahmedabad.After finishing at CEPT he worked with Architects Combine in Mumbai for 4 years. He further pursued his Masters in Architecture during 1998-2000 at the Architectural Association, London. He was awarded the J.N. Tata Scholarship among several other scholarships for his studies at the AA. Thereafter he worked with Terry Farrell and Partners in London as an assistant architect in 1999-2000. He has been teaching at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture, Mumbai from 1996-1998 and then from 2000 until the present as visiting faculty. The practice has won several awards such as the JK Architect of the year for group housing and open competitions. Their work has been published in a variety of publications and magazines. They have also given lectures about their works in various institutes such as Academy of Architecture, the Urban Design Research Institute, I.E.S. School, D.Y. Patil College, 12 X 12.  They have exhibited at the Aedes Gallery in Berlin and have been invited by the NAI and Dutch DFA for workshops and as speakers at conferences in Netherlands.

Subramaniam Vincent is Managing Director of Oorvani Media Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based media firm. He is a journalist-entrepreneur and telecommunications professional with nearly 20 years of experience. In December 2007, Subramaniam Vincent and Meera K co-founded Oorvani Media to create city-focused news and information products in India with a citizen-edge. They launched Citizen Matters, Bangalore's first interactive newsmagazine to cover city issues,  community and culture in 2008. Citizen Matters' pioneering model of seamlessly mixing professionally developed news with citizen authored articles has been reported in the BBC, UK and Mint. Citizen Matters was also a finalist at the Namma Bengaluru Awards of 2010. A Citizen Matters reporter also won Asian Development Bank Institute's Young Development Journalist of the Year award at Tokyo in 2009. Subramaniam originally ventured into journalism in 1998, when he and Ashwin Mahesh co-founded India Together, India's national public affairs e-magazine. India Together, also published by Oorvani Media is one of the largest development-lensed e-magazines in India, and has a global audience of over 200,000 visitors each month, with award-winning journalists. Subramaniam is an expert editor, mentor, and leader of large teams of journalists. During the past seven years, Subramaniam has given invited talks and taught seminars on journalism and new media. He is also an author of two chapters in books on media in India. In his earlier career as a technology professional, he has held product engineering, and project leadership positions in the telecom industry, at Cisco Systems (California), Intel Corporation (Oregon) and Microland (India). He has also conducted advanced technology research and is the co-author of two publications for the Internet Engineering Task Force, one of which is a standards specification. Subramaniam got his Masters degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1997. He received a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering, in 1992.

Padmalatha Ravi has been a Journalist for ten years now. She is currently working as an Associate Editor with Citizen Matters, a Bangalore based interactive newsmagazine. She is an alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, Chennai and has completed a management programme for women entrepreneurs from IIMB. She has worked with Sun Network and India Today network as a television journalist in the past. She also comes with a four-year corporate background  prior to that. Since then she has contributed to various media organisations, both in print and online. She co-founded Justfemme.in, an e-zine for women, in 2007. She has made several documentary films for the development sector. She has largely written about gender, education, environment and human rights. Her interest in public sphere comes with a feminist lens.