Travels in India, part 1

Posted: March 5, 2013 - 11:08 , by ROM
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 Sarkej Rosa, a beautiful serene respite in the middle of a chaotic modern city

Ahmedabad, India

Traffic here is like a pinball machine, a crazy game of chicken, where you try not to hit anything, especially the cattle.

After a day of relative inactivity, spent recovering from jetlag, I found myself bouncing around in the back of an autorickshaw, hurtling through a crazy quilt of mopeds bicycles autorickshaws, dogs, goats, and yes, cattle. But I should back up a bit here and explain how this came to be.

I have asked to come here by the National Institute of Design (NID), to give talk on my specialty, exhibit lighting design, and to collaborate with the exhibit design students on an exhibition they are organizing. The subject is Sarkej Rosa, a 15th century temple complex on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. This morning I gave my talk to a group of students of exhibit design and of photography, along with a number of faculty. I described what I do at the ROM, with examples from past exhibits and went into a detailed analysis of the collaboration that resulted in the lighting for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit of 2010.

Speaking of collaboration, they are very big on it here at the NID. There are several faculty, myself, and an american artist all collaborating on the Sarkej project. They are quite willing to pull in anyone they think can contribute to any given project. Tomorrow I'm involved in an evaluation of work produced by graduate students in photography. This came about after they learned of my past involvement in photography and at Gallery 44 in Toronto.

This afternoon I visited the Sarkej Rosa site, a beautiful serene respite in the middle of a chaotic modern city. Of particular interest to me were the ornate jalis or carved wooden or marble screens.

I hope to visit a number of other sites while here - I'll keep you posted...