Deconstruction or and Reconstruction
This is the image of the disorientation of the coolie workers, who has lost a design, a structure of their livelihood pattern, because of urbanization. Their life hangs onto the flyover, both literally and metaphorically. However, there is a similarity between the way most migrant coolie-workers’ lifestyle disorientation and the way in which the flyovers, meant to facilitate a smoother traffic, disrupts the traffic, by and large.
The experience of being positioned below the flyover makes it a feel different from when functionally one passes above or below it. This experience, of being underneath a flyover without a specific purpose of commuting, is the core essence of my performance, beneath one such flyover. The coolie who is at the lower end of the socio-economic structure of the urban context, while he/she would be at a higher position in the rural context from wherein they hail from, makes a temporary home beneath the very flyover which reflects his/her (coolie) lifestyle in more than one sense. They hang on to the flexible abode, their children are held in suspension, within the cradle-like cloth hanging down from beneath such flyovers.
In this background, in order to re-position and articulate the premise of those citizens whose societal position alters from the rural to the urban, I choose a flyover twelve (12) feet above the ground level. What hangs above seemed like an everlasting burden. I fixed a suspended cradle-like cloth from beneath it, climbed it up with the help of a ladder, slid into one such couch like a child; and tried to symbolically lift the whole flyover with my back. After a stretch of performance of the impossible—trying to lift the flyover—I turned upside down, tore the cloth from beneath the suspension; and revealed the wounds and scratches on my back to those viewers watching from below me, from the ground level.
The overall idea is to symbolically back the feel of claustrophobia or forced urbanization and take the responsibility (almost literally) on to one’s self, as an artist-as-activist and be marked. The performance can be a prolonged one, since it calls for resilience and contemplation from the audience as well as the artist (me) rather than a spectacle.///