The Academy of Electronic Arts
[also known as The Academy of Experimental Arts]

Research & Innovation Ashram #002
Rukmini Nagar || Guwahati || Assam || North-East INDIA
RIA #001 ~ RIA #002
The RIA #002 Diary, 2014
April 19, '14
February 07, '13 || April 25, '13 || June 12, '13 || entries to be added

February 07, 2013

As things stand today, I am hoping to be on my way to North East India pretty soon after we play out CeC 2013, up here in Sattal, through February 22-23-24. That hopefully means a 2,000km motorcycle ride for me once again, through Nepal, also once again, about mid-March.

This story rides the simple fact that I inherited a lovely little 360 square yard plot of land upon the passing of my mother in 2011, in a sort of posh residential-colony of the capital city of Assam, Guwahati, and, actually took possession last November (2012),.. after which I was first travelling, then locked into Delhi for awhile, and am now up in Sattal, preparing for CeC 2013.

The plot is what we are now hoping to start evolving into Research & Innovation Ashram #002,.. ahead of
RIA #001 for the moment.

Here's what it looks like presently, from the eastern side:

In this image, the plot fronts onto the private shared driveway seen in the foreground, extending from the shared main-gate on the right, up to the white pillar marked with a yellow 'x' near the centre of the image (about 48ft.). The northern wall of the plot (on the right; about 70ft.), and the shared main-gate, both face the widest road within the colony, with a 5-storey set of apartment blocks--seen on the right side of this image--directly on the other side. The Dispur capital-complex is just a few hundred yards beyond that.

The reasons for prioritizing RIA #002 over RIA #001 right now are multifold, most particularly including the potentials of this location for, (a) variegated year-round public programming, (b) growing an engaged local 'community', (c) drawing other organizations into association, and, (d) leveraging the fact that I am personally native to the region.

It should be added here that Assam, and North-East India as a whole, represent an entirely unique and very robust bouquet of rich living-cultures, and the region is also already beginning to present India it's only really open land-border to the rest of the world, via Burma. This is, of course, about roads for now, but rail linkages too are already on the anvil, with international negotiations and planning in full swing.

At the same time, it should equally be noted here that the region has been little known to outsiders thus far, and was consequently of little general 'interest', primarily because, (a) travel to North-East India was hitherto restricted quite diligently by the Government of India, and, (b) the region was also geo-politically rendered into a geographical cul de sac, connected to the rest of the world by only just a 32km. wide chickens-neck that linked it to the rest of India,.. to which it historically actually did not belong.

And so, with all of that said and done, here's the broad plan we are hoping to begin with,.. given the seminal starting point that we actually have little to no funds to really do anything very much at all~;o).

    1. we begin with a cheap 'temporary' structure/s
    2. we make of this a merit, by casting it as first product of an extended public project of RIA #002, whereby we intend to cyclically create, use, demolish and replace experimental functional structure/s (say every 5 years or so) so as to almost continually, and also quite publicly, manifest useful experimental creativity and innovation by these means
    3. we invite institutions, architects, designers, materials-manufacturers, builders, and so on, from all over India and the world, to engage themselves variously with this aspect of RIA #002,.. though this will probably be only in the further future~:o(
Accordingly, in line with local traditions, local skills, and local materials, together with a quest for immediacy in getting it all going, we are 'hoping' to first make an unique Bamboo main-structure to serve for RIA #002, with an open sided ground-floor meant for small exhibitions, performances, presentations, workshops, screenings, classes, collaborations, and the like, and a relatively discrete first-floor dedicated to residency, and private deskspace/s. Meanwhile, kitchen, bathrooms, toilets, and staff, can have a small separate block.

Here's an approximate idea of the main-structure we would probably like to make along such lines, within given circumstances today. It is seen from what would be the northern perspective (i.e. from the road, with the shared main-gate and driveway to the left):

(note: this is composited from an image of a different structure, and is therefore unique)

Here's a mock-up of the basic structural logic.

In case the design above proves to be not doable presently, for whatsoever reason (discordant legalese, for example), we might instead begin with an even simpler structure/s, possibly along the lines of bamboo bivouacs, of which the following is just a random houseboat example (from Kerala):

And of course, if we do indeed go along these lines, such a structure/s would be substantially just about becoming basically habitable, so as to provide for at least the residency and private-deskspaces aspect of RIA #002, leaving the rest to be addressed as and how circumstances permit ~ possibly meaning just plain open space, at least to begin with.

And finally, up until we actually do whatever we do with this, there also always remains the possibility that we might just go with a pallet-rack structure, which we could then continually reinvent, on an ongoing basis over several years, without significantly re-investing along the way to do so.


mail address: B-5&6/4563 Vasant Kunj,. New Delhi - 110 070 (INDIA)