Koli village, Khar Danda
Mumbai, India, 2009
The idea of the project was to have a glimpse at an area (Koli* village) which is gradually being encroached upon by the gentrification. Our aims were to research the life of a fishermen’s community which is encircled by a megalopolis and to point out the fact that the accumulated waste along the seashore can no longer be ignored.
The project contained 3 parts:
- A site specific installation at the jetty (harbour at Khar Danda):
The installation site was at the back of a kind of tea-gambler-house at the jetty. This site is normally covered with litter, men use it to urinate and children to play marbles.
On the site a platform was built around 3 decaying boats. It was designed on 3 different levels and in a sloping manner making it look like waves. The platform changed the site from a neglected to a (however only temporary) maintained and formed site. It could easily be mounted by everybody and enabled the visitor to see either inside the boats or to climb further up onto the boats. The platform invited people to use the site as a place to sit, chat or play. The place around the platform had been cleaned by the project group and a cleaner.
- 2 film essays:
Tne film gives an insight about how the fishermen have experienced the changes of the site during the past decades, how waste is overflowing the seashore and the jetty and how a rag picker makes a living of this. The other film shows a collection of subtle images that can be observed at a harbour, e.g. ropes changing from tense to loose, depending on the current.
The first film was projected on a screen built up on one of the boats (which could stand for a sail), the second film was displayed on a monitor which was placed inside another boat so people had to look over the edge of the boat, into the boat.
- An edition of a newspaper:
The newspaper assembles different issues related to the history of Khar Danda, the life of the fishermen’s community, the architectural structure of the buildings and the future of the fishermen and their community. The newspaper was written in Marathi, the local language.
1000 copies were printed, displayed on the site and distributed among the villagers.
On the 27th and 28th January the place became a temporary installation where the 3 elements of the project were presented together.
*) Kolis are the original Marathi speaking (in various dialects) inhabitants of the area. The Marathi word „Koli“ means fisherman, but also spider, presumably because fishermen use nets to catch their prey (D.D. Kosambi, The Kolis: Koli fishermen: Mumbai / Bombay pages)