In The Presence of Absence: Samira Rathod | In-Touch Edition III

17 July - 15 September 2020

Samira Rathod Design Atelier is a design practice since 2000 that delves in the space in-between art and architecture. Each projects for us is influenced by art without compromising on its context and the larger realm of the environment it impacts. A rigorous process; in the pursuit of beauty.

In the presence of absence ; an experiment

nostalgia, spaces in between

Nuances in architecture exist as an overture of careful details that are meant to enrich spatial experience. We look at the quiet town of Bhadran, (Gujarat) a timeworn and weary hamlet on the outskirts of Baroda, to find these nuances, and re-look at the idea of preservation. Often understood as a collage, a palimpsest, or as a tabula rasa, conversation retains the superfluous aspects of architecture, while letting go of the beauty and sense of time hidden within these spaces. Using Bhadran, a town in the process of dying, as ground zero for a visual experiment, the research looks at the twin traits of the interstitial spaces and nostalgia.

The research approaches the subject from multiple directions - looking at the idea of space in between as, an emotion of nostalgia, as the phenomenon of death and dying and the architectural interstitial. While not providing a definitive answer, the research instigates this discourse.

The argument put forward is that Bhadran, our testing ground, has to be preserved but not simply as a physical entity. We have to allow for change, in a manner that is dignified to the memory of the town that was, it's people, it's culture, and it's poetry.

Seemingly unrelated objects, these manufactured realities pay homage to the time that was, while looking to the future that can be.

New queer objects were made from relics found in the houses of Bhadran - tobacco, quills, cups, nibs combined with wax, wood, thread, paints and more. A memorabilia of moments. A new architecture assembled from the death of another architecture.

How does one translate this idea tangibly as a token of this memory? It is not enough to document the past historically in all it correctness, but to allow a space for imagination instead in the manufacturing of evocative images to be transformed into objects. To qualify this idea and materialise it; nostalgia- as if one could touch it, hold it, smell it.

We documented, but as the case with most dogmatic studies, we were stuck with the question; what do we do with it now? We turned the idea of the process of its head instead of creating a record of the physical, we captured ideas, emotions, and experiences. Found objects manifesting as relics of a time long gone, we worked to transform and reinterpret them to convey a more contemporary narrative through mix media collage drawings.

The process of this exploration as a metaphor and its abstraction has lead to making new forms;

Spaces in-between the presence of an absence.

Press release