INDIA Blog 2 (Jan-Feb)

First weeks in February – closing in on a project

A quick ramble – more + photos later…

So far, my research has been water and solar. Now I am looking to focus on a tangible, local way to think about water – not large infrastructure like dams, irrigation or waste water management. After seeing projects in Auroville and Tilonia, after listening and reading on Bangalore water history I find that groundwater seems to reliably improve with (the right type) of tree that holds the soil and helps feeds rainwater in the ground – rather than a sewer. But how can a city person appreciate a tree when it stands squeezed between road and sidewalk, misused as a garbage dump, covered in soot and dust? I continue to photograph many trees and tree pits + see some taken care of by neighbors.

I am floating a work title of ‘Adopt a Tree’ project to individualize nature, choose one object to know, to explore, to care for – and protect 1 at a time in this city. Document on social media, map locations of ‘fellow adopted trees’.

We will see what resonates with students – I will start to work in that direction and suggest it to Arzu as part of the upcoming student project.

Several meetings with Arzu on the March class project – and we start weaving ideas together from our brainstorming sessions. We will work at the Lalbagh (elevated) metro station – near the entrance to the Botanical Garden of the same name.

Questions on Climate change, can a personal relation to nature enable change of behavior – towards water bodies or forests or waste or plastic? Focus on a local simple start. – – How can we empathize with nature in the city – so far removed from nature? – – How can you love all nature, when it is immense and abstract? – – How can you care for what you do not know?

With two of Arzu’s ‘Art In Transit’ team, we meet Suresh at his 1Shantiroad gallery. Suresh comes from a family of nursery owners and grew up near Lalbagh Park + will give us a personal tour later this week. We look at 19th-century illustrations of trees – we think about the biosphere and interdependencies between a tree and other plants, animals.

Next: a ‘Discover-Cafés-in-Bangalore-Day’: Arzu and I meet again at beautiful Champaca Bookstore + Café, followed by meeting with Susanne’s Yoga partner at Kaara across from Ulsoor Lake – nice view, except a closer look reveals much plastic garbage and ruins the anticipated beauty. On to meet Sammi for photo transfer at the serene Yogisthaan. I think Indiranagar is my favorite’ quartier’.

Sunday, Arzu and I will visit a project 2 hours outside of Bangalore. An artist tries to save old and/or indigenous knowledge about wild edible plants.

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