‘Porosity Kabari’ was an exhibition by Australian object designer Trent Jansen, artist and architect Richard Goodwin and Indian design thinker Ishan Khosla. It ran in the Nishi Gallery from Friday 9 June 2017 – Sunday 9 July 2017.
‘Porosity Kabari’ was result of an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, collaborative project; the trio worked over three weeks to produce furniture and object pieces made from materials and craftsmanship sourced solely from the ‘Chor Bazaar’ (thieves market) and ‘Dharavi’ (the largest slum in earth) in Mumbai, India.
India is a place where resourcefulness is part of the everyday. The market neighbourhoods where this project took place are where many of India’s useful objects end up. It is also where they are often given a second life – car panels are transformed into ad hoc cookers and old clothing is quilted into rugs for snake charmers.
The setting and parametres of this project challenged the designers to make do with what was at hand and in doing so ‘Porosity Kabari’ presents an alternative model for sustainable design that is relevant to all of us, living anywhere. It investigates the cycle of use, reuse (and further reuse)—and
how we can, quite simply, use one thing to make another thing.
The exhibition explores cultural conditions and social structures specific to India but perhaps familiar to many developing nations. The idealised notion of “progress” is put into question, as is the cycle of consumerism and desire in globalised India. ‘Porosity Kabari’ celebrates craft but highlights how craftspeople are undervalued in contemporary Indian society.
The objects produced for ‘Porosity Kabari’ were made outside the industrialised system. Improvisation was the applied technique for making. Ideas were generated and design decisions were made on the fly, shaped by the daily observations and moods of the designers. ‘Porosity Kabari’ champions the ad hoc and builds appreciation of the makeshift. It reminds us to look to and learn from those countries where, for many, resources are scare and resourcefulness is a necessity.
The Nishi Gallery is a cultural space in Canberra, Australia. It explores human experience through the lens of local identity, objects and their meaning; the natural and built world; design experimentation and artisanal making. Our exhibitions program supports the subversive, the radical and the vernacular. Nishi Gallery is curated by Molonglo and made in collaboration with local, national and international artists and designers, creative and social enterprises, cultural organisations and independent curators via a submissions and commissions process.
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