Come December 9, and localities as diverse as Horniman Circle, Sambhaji Park in Mulund and the Mahim beach will be visited by the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile laboratory that highlights urban challenges.
The lab offers a range of free programmes including research projects, tours, talks, workshops and cultural activities, all designed to ensure a discussion on public space and the choices Mumbaikars make to satisfy their needs in a city of more than 20 million people.
The Lab programmes have been initiated by the Mumbai Lab Team and developed by local programme consultants and Guggenheim curators. The line-up includes programmes such as Meet in the Middle, which will bring together public and private stakeholders to talk on transportation, space, housing, etc, and City Dreams, which will feature interactive family events on the historic development of the cultural landscape of Mumbai.
There will also be screenings of Bollywood films, documentaries, animation, and experimental works. The Lab will also include projects on topics such as privacy and spaces in Mumbai and design projects encouraging innovative designs for developing areas such as the Kala Nagar Traffic Junction.David van der Leer, curator of the Guggenheim Lab, said that the Mumbai Lab will focus on the topic of ‘Me=We’. “Balancing individual (me) and community (we) interests, the programme is developed to offer new insights for Mumbai and potentially, cities around the world,” he says.The Guggenheim Lab was launched in New York City in August 2011 and ran in Berlin in May 2012; Mumbai is their third venue. “The Mumbai Lab is designed to directly and proactively engage residents from all parts of the city, and from all backgrounds and viewpoints. The Mumbai Lab will address topics of importance to Mumbaikars such as transportation, housing and planning,” adds Leer, admitting that Mumbai was shortlisted due to its vibrancy, diversity and remarkable density.
This apart, Rhythm Circle with Arts in Motion and Taufiq Qureshi’s Rhydhun Academy of World Rhythms are also organising an event (December 9 at Horniman Circle and December 23 at Priyadarshini Park) where people are encouraged to show up with any musical instrument or simple glasses, spoons, tin boxes, steel plates, etc to create music. There will also be mob dances at select locations and a Mumbai parade.
“Many of the urban issues that one can find around the world are more intense in Mumbai, and for that reason the city can offer valuable insights for city dwellers everywhere,” says Leer, adding, “Our decisions about locations were based on where we could make the most significant impact in a limited time period and make the Lab available and accessible to a host of audiences and communities.”
At Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla (Dec 9-Jan 20); Horniman Circle, Fort (Dec 13-17); Sambhaji Park, Mulund (Dec 20-24); Priyadarshini Park, Malabar Hill (Dec 27-30); Batliboy Compound, Mill Worker Colony (Jan 3-7); Mahim Beach, H/W Ward (Jan 10-13).
Look out for these...
> Food for Thought uses food and drink as a catalyst for conversation about the cultures reflected on the tables and streets of Mumbai, addressing local and global issues of nutrition, food production, food security, and safety.
> Unwrapping Mumbai offers new insights about how Mumbaikars adapt to their surroundings through high-energy, interactive variety shows and party sessions that combine talks, music, theatre, storytelling, and tours to explore the city’s perspectives.
> Your Place, My Place, or Our Public Space? Privacy and Spaces in Mumbai asks Mumbaikars to contribute to an ongoing research project to reveal how the community perceives privacy.
> TRANSPORTATION HUBS Land Link (design project) explores ways to refit Mumbai’s waterpipe infrastructure as a new autorickshaw highway and a pedestrian bridge between different neighbourhoods, creating a large public domain.
> Testing, Testing! Mumbai is a series of tours exploring the psychological effects of urban spaces near the Lab, at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum site.