Art in Transit is a public-art project housed at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, with the aim to create meaningful artistic interventions and discourse in spaces of transience. The project is rooted in the city of Bangalore, a complex quilt of people, places and community identities that are navigating multiple transitions, experiencing growth, movement and development at a rapid pace.
Initiated in July 2014, in collaboration with the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) with a pilot project at the Peenya Metro Station, this ongoing partnership aims at transforming Bangalore’s transit sites into cultural hubs that facilitate meaningful interactions through public art and design interventions. Participating as viewer or actor in an art process builds a sense of belonging, not through the rationality of forced participation, exemplified by the rhetoric of “we SHOULD all participate in civic duties and the cleaning up our streets”, but more in the invitation, the lure and the pleasure of participation that can be induced through the arts.
As Bangalore grows swiftly into its latest avatar as a megacity, new roadways, flyovers and modes of transit are already carving out a new landscape. While the city’s population often struggles to adjust to these changes, we believe art can provide the tools to comment, question, nuance, bring humour and open dialogue. We use these transitions as an opportunity to engage the public in an interaction with the city that goes beyond acceptance, anger, apathy or ignorance and opens up the possibility of intrigue, engagement and even hope.
As an educational program, we are committed to developing a range of critical practices that respond to the growing curiosity towards the revitalisation of public spaces through art and design. This growth in public art practice has created relevance around questions of framing and positioning oneself within a larger field. We facilitate interrogation and navigation for students and practitioners across rapidly emerging binaries within the field of public art practice, such as :
- Place and Practice
- Activism and Gentrification
- Traditional and Contemporary
- Value and Impact
- Form and Function
- Ephemeral and Archival
By providing contextual framing to a nascent media practice we explore the idea of publicness to its truest potential where the artist has a direct relationship with the audience/reader. Practitioners at Art in Transit use the arts and design as a medium to facilitate dialogue between people and the urban spaces they inhabit. This approach is further nuanced by linking emergent global public art practices with the idea of place and locality. This an antithesis to the blind imitation of styles and tendencies that often inhabit the idea of popular. We instigate strategies wherein there is constant evolution of art practice through the lens of place, as opposed to appropriation of place through art.
This program extends itself as a platform where various practices, pedagogies and processes centred around public art in Bangalore can converge to provide a unified vision responding to the transforming urban landscape of Bangalore.
Art in Transit aims to develop practices through means of courses and projects, collaborations with other centres at Srishti, interim semester activities, public art festivals, seminars, colloquiums and conferences. While housing various different practices through its different projects, Art in Transit aims to bring all these disciplines together under the umbrella of a curatorial practice, and in a larger sense, a deeper understanding of spaces and the meanings they generate and how to modify and add to spaces with awareness and sensitivity. Art in Transit is always aiming to complicate and answer the question: What does it mean to curate public spaces?
As a diploma project space, we welcome all disciplines of art and design to come and immerse themselves through the spectrum of real public existence. This is a generative space where, along with individual practices, we develop larger pedagogies around public art practice. These pedagogies are what guide our studios, workshops and charrettes in the 2-year PDP program. As a Lab resting within C.A.P (Contemporary Art Practice) in the School of Media, Arts and Sciences, our goal is to give contextual relevance and awareness of field to the emerging art practice of a CAP student. They should enter the fourth year diploma project with capacity and awareness.
We also offer a practice-intensive masters program that is centred around public art pedagogy and the emerging urban identity of Bangalore.
As an academic space, Art in Transit is strongly characterized by a diversity of philosophies, practices and approaches. From art that expresses, mediates, activates and instigates, our artists explore the full spectrum of what it means to intervene in public space. The projects that are encouraged and facilitated at Art in Transit are characterized by a strong sense of process, extensive onsite immersion and research in order to inform and enrich the artists’ responses to site.
Alongside the metro project, Art in Transit has begun to expand out into different types of public spaces, reach multiple audiences and collaborate with several different types of artists and organizations in order to realize its vision for the city.
Located at the intersection of Practice and Discourse, the project collaborates with students, artists, faculty, city enthusiasts and critics, urban planners and activists to engage creatively with the tensions and dilemmas that exist around the idea of ‘city’ and ‘public space’.
BMRCL: Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), a joint venture of Government of India and Government of Karnataka, is the body responsible for the implementation of the Bangalore Metro Rail Project. The Art in Transit project was begun as a collaboration between the BMRCL and Srishti, with the vision of transforming Bangalore's metro stations into cultural hubs and putting Bangalore on the map in terms of public art. The project’s vision has been greatly furthered along by its partnership with the BMRCL and the access it has provided us to very large and public spaces of transit such as metro stations, stations that serve as a symbol for the nature of development the city is currently witnessing, therefore serving as ideal sites for artistic interventions.
Ample Technologies: Art in Transit has been fortunate to receive the support and sponsorship of Ample Technologies, Bangalore, in realizing art interventions for its pilot project at the Peenya Metro Station. Ample is a technology solutions sales provider based in Bangalore for the past eighteen years and present across various Indian cities ever since. Ample connects leading technology suppliers to their customers and owns and operates multiple forms of retail. Ample was the first to own and operate India’s first Apple flagship retail store Imagine.
Art in Transit’s core team consists of Arzu Mistry, Amitabh Kumar and Ruchika Nambiar.