2040 A.D: ART IN BANGALORE:
1st January 2040: In the Art Café (like Internet Café of 2000A.D) I read about a new criminal law. Anybody who disrupts a Public Art Intervention was to be fined and treated as the traffic violaters. It is already well known that the government has announced a State holiday for Karnataka (5th September, which is also the teacher’s day) to celebrate public art intervention.
The reason for the holiday is simple: the stress factor of IT sector, the core preoccupation of the city of Bengaluru, has become so much that a specialist team of doctors and psychologists from NIMHANS took stock of the increasing stress factor and increasing suicide cases of my city. Where medicine and therapies failed, an artist influenced by Joseph Beuys, suggested a unique solution: to make the public participate more and more in Public Art Intervention. They could take part in the Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium or Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, as artists, curators, audiences or ground staff. Now it has become obvious that public intervention has become the best stress-buster because there is no competition or economy involved in it.
The government takes care of sponsoring public art projects. Artists and curators are paid monthly salary for such art projects. Interestingly, public intervention has been treated by the government not as Art as much as the ‘Clean-City-Project’ influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s notion of cleanliness. I saw the police arresting a person on M.G.Road for abusing a stranger by calling him ‘Arty’. This word ‘Art(y)’ has been considered as a derogatory word (like ‘scavenger’ was abandoned a while ago). Anybody who is a creative artist today knows very well that what they create should be called in Bengaluru as ‘PAP’ (Public Art Project).
Since the city is tired of high-rise buildings, metros and entertainment-parks, the public wanted non-solid, metaphoric, analogous structures. Discourse in the form of speaking between public and artist-curators was supposed to be one such structure, which did not suffer from space or the underworld activities of the pushy real estate. The city could not take any more physical stuff as art. Hence now the idea of art is to create ideas, analogies, metaphors and symbolic gestures. Gestures have now become more important than representations in the city art. Koshy’s coffee shop is a live-art-lab wherein everyday they re-arrange the furnitures, photos and members of the shop. The re-arrangement is shot as photo-series and video-installation. Since there is currently a heated debate and public protests about photos and videos themselves being physical structures of public intervention, the ‘moment’ when such re-arrangements are done, is what has become important. The city can no more take even a single sculpture, without adding to the collapse of the ground water level. Hence the TIME of performance has been valued more, which has become intense, due to the congestion of traffic jams in the city. “You come, you see, you perform and you leave” is the mantra of today’s public intervention. Since photo and video are both possible in Mi400i mobile’s which are not bigger than a thumb-size, they are to be immediately sent to mega-box that email2039 version has availed. It is very important to send of images and visual memories out of the city’s boundary within 30 minutes of creating it. This is the rule in the city around public art intervention in Bengaluru after “Save Bengaluru from Visual Collapse” movement that took place in 3rd December 2037.
So Bengaluru art scene, now, in 2040 has been celebrating ‘visual memories’ as its cutting-edge artform. It is so because immense memory stored in human brains do not add to the weightage of the city. Plagiarism, or copying-act has been very strict with the city’s performative and other kind of art public interventions. There is a impossible high court rule that says that the only plagiarism that can be permitted in public art intervention is to ‘create the copy before the original’. Like it has been the case with the judiciary system throughout in the city, even the judges have been unable to explain this law, section 2040, in the common woman’s language.
Altogether, public art intervention in the city, whether it is performance, mimicry, plagiarism or even painting on transparent glasses (which should be displayed in such a way as to be seen from both the sides) should follow THREE IMPORTANT RULES:
- The main goal of the intervention should be to burst the stress of the public citizens. &
- It should not add any physical weightage to the already heavy, cutting-edge, postmodernist museum-archives of yester-years. (The last physical-artwork of the city was destroyed in 2035. It was a museum showcasing the rare photographs of the prehistoric times of Bangalore, 30,000 B.C. The Enfo-Sissy IT company of Bengaluru had created this impossible photo series of the prehistoric times of the city. For this, they had sent an astronaut, in time-travel-ship, to go far away from Earth at the speed of light, so far that she could see the happenings of prehistoric times on Earth in general and Bengaluru in particular and video-zoom-graph into it from there. Bengaluru looks over burdeningly heavy with greenery even during prehistoric times.
- All the monuments of the city, including Vidhana Soudha and four towers marking the boundaries of the city have been loaned and shifted over to cities which don’t suffer from over-weight (like Norway, Langenthal, Kassal etc.,) Instead, a holographic-image of each monument of Bengaluru has been projected, to the exact size, at the same sites. Those wearing anti-gravity suits can go into it, since they can feel the weight, tough and smell of those holographic monuments of the city.
Critique: The best criticism about the public art intervention now in Bengaluru (2040) has been best captured by Airson Junior. It reads like this, “The city has won the best artistic-intervention-city award from ‘NoWhere & Elsewhere’ International Academy, from producing invisible and invincible artworks. The works in the city are gravity-free, traffic free (since they are displayed to people who are struck with everlasting traffic) and pollution free (since most works are initially done with garbage, though I don’t want to categorise their quality “as garbage”). The city is clean of the heaviness and physicality of the ancient monuments. The Four Estates (Judiciary, Administration, Journalism..) are seriously considering turning their buildings, archives, documentation into similar virtual, simulated projections, since this is the best way to clean the city from stress and garbage…” //
ART IN BENGALURU IN 2040:
- In 2040, art-in-public would be the most sought after ‘cultural activity’ in Bengaluru city. People would be booking advance tickets (like they do for films and theatre plays, now, in 2015) & the tickets would be sold in black market as well.
- Media and materials used for art in 2040 would be mostly technological. There would be one group insisting on ‘traditional revival’, wherein they would take influences from 486 computers, floppies, CD and DVDs which were in vogue in the beginning of 21st century. “Computing Tradition” would be a sequel book to “Living Tradition” by K.G.Subramanyan, mostly used in art school education (in 2040) alongside John Berger’s sequel to “Ways of Seeing” called “Webs of Seeing”.
- The old clichéd divisions between Artists and Audience would not exist anymore. Every audience seen in the photo-document of any Art Performance would claim the photo-performance to be his or hers’; and there would be many law-suits in the court for Authorship of such performances.
- ‘Still Performances’ would be the most exciting ticketed-show wherein audience are compulsorily made to ‘sleep’ through performances. Betting on predicting what the next move of the Still-Performance would be legalized by the government.
- Critics and Curators would be more important than the artists in public interventions. They would write criticism and distribute manifestoes even before the public intervention takes place. There would be a State holidays to attend art-interventions once a month; and attending such events would add to the promotion of jobs of the audience.
- Attending Art-public-intervention would be made compulsory along with the electorial voting.
- Art works in conventional media would be considered as a crime and anybody practicing it would be sentenced to be a ‘pauper’ for 12 years. In other words, the Indian Constitution would have a new clause: any profit which will be only in monetary terms, in artistic practice, will be considered as a culpable, non-bailable crime under section 2040.
- Museums would no longer be in the form of hardcore buildings. Museums would be made out of inflatable material, folded and held ready by museum authorities in all major traffic junction. Whenever there will be a traffic-jam, the Inflatable Museum would be blown up for info-tainment (Information and entertainment) for 15 minutes, since each traffic signal would take 15 minutes to change from red to green.
- Public-Intervention through Art would be prescribed as a compulsory subject in general education, from primary schooling onwards. Those students who have got distinction marks in these subjects will have exceptions in percentages, along with caste and sports reservation in government jobs and private sectors.
- It will be made compulsory in IT (Information Technology) sectors to undergo a stress-free sessions for two hours every day; and (P.A.I) Public Art Intervention will be part of this stress-free sessions. Special leaves will be granted (O.O.D = On Official Duty) to those who want to become artists and do public interventions.
- Since garbage would be inevitable problem of Bengaluru city in 2040, the government will provide garbage free to artists who would use garbage as their media of public interaction, will be given subsidiary to create art out of it. A few artists from Bengaluru would have received international awards for their E.C.T.G works (Ethical Cleaning Through Garbage). Their over life size sculptures would be made in treated Garbage and installed in public circles. Also the artists with keenness on public intervention would be represented on currencies (rupees, like Giaccometti was printed on Swiss Franks till 2015); while such special currencies will be made out of recycled garbage.
- Posters about public art intervention would have been displayed in ICU (Intensive Care Units) in Hospitals, with a healing touch. Since such art forms would be ‘public’ in essence, there would be a heated ethical and curatorial debate about how appropriate is it to display the posters of such activities inside the four walls of hospitals. To sort this out, the ICU and emergency wards in hospitals would be built out of transparent glasses, so that the ‘public’ can also view what is going on inside those emergency situations (this would be influenced by the glass-made walls of PRAVDA newspaper of USSR, before communist government fell down in 1989).
- In art education, those students who excelled in the history of public intervention, would be given residency-program chances in non-Asian countries. Conventional media art in oil, sculpture, printmaking etc would be considered as ‘folk’ and ‘tradition’ and will be reused to create recreational premise in UB City parks, Lumbini part and Innovative city in Bengaluru.
- The IT sectors would have developed a ‘Harft Sordware’ GAMES program (mixture of Hardware and Software) for people to play “Art As Public Intervention” games.