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The Interstice

Georgie Vaidyan, Hanna Geon & Elizabeth Teresa Antony

Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the world, is a unique case where the distinction between the city and slum areas remains observably pronounced. Dharavi has been a home to generations of inhabitants, who fulfil lower wage work demands in the city, which has further cemented the notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’, a strict social boundary dictating the very lives of both communities.
There are many places where both the city and the slum merge for people to commute. The selected site is modelled on the Sion-Dharavi overway, one of many pedestrian paths used by the slum dwellers to enter the city and back. These transit areas serve as important points of interaction between the two communities and can help question the paradoxical nature of their relationship.
Around the world, slums develop in the heart of growing cities over time, creating a clear divide between the rich and poor. This creates a great paradox in itself; the poorer slum dwellers depend on the city for work, while the city relies on the latter for its sustenance and functioning. However, there exists a significant divide between the two communities, with each developing their own prejudices and biases towards the other through social conditioning and stigma. The installation can help challenge the notions these communities have of each other as well as ones they have of themselves; a genesis of empathy and understanding.
The installation consists of three parts: the portrait of the slum in the city, the vision of the city in the slum and a transitory link between the two that brings with it the realization of the paradox of their co-existence.

THE ILLUSION : The Illusion is placed in the slum representing the city. As one ascends the stair, the landings provide a view to the city skyline through a forced perspective as it represents the city as an ideal, far from ones reach. On one’s way back, one realises that this distance is felt only because of the illusion; just as their preconceived notions exaggerates the separation between places.

THE CONTACT: The location of The Contact is on the bridge that joins the city and the slum. These two locations were separated by the railroad track that runs beneath this bridge. This railway track is concealed by the curved walls structure, which unifies these two disparate locations. Their divide can only be seen with effort through the peep holes carved into these walls.

THE LABYRINTH: The labyrinth is placed in the city representing the slum. One has a sense of despondency as they descend the stairs as the long, narrow, monochromatic walls start to swallow them up, leading them to a maze that reflects the lives of the slum inhabitants. However, on the way back the same structure unifies people entering from different points.

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