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Concrete Discontinuities: Fieldnotes and Fieldphotos

Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes | © Raisa Galofre

There is always something supporting something in order for that something to become something. The question is: at what cost? Under which conditions? Reflections by Raisa Galofre and Marvin Systermans.

In Bangalore I have seen things that made me reflect on certain dynamics and issues from my hometown because of their similarity.
Between tensions and intensities, life is lived in a hurry to, by all means, be lived… to get there, to find ways, to cross no matter what.
Large buildings have glass as their façades, that function like mirrors. These mirrors are not opaque from the inside, on the contrary, one can see through them. While from the outside, no one can see what’s behind them. It is a one way direction of seeing and being seen. The one who sees from the outside, can see themselves reflected with the environment she or he is in. The one who sees from the inside can not only see the other on the outside, but also the reflection of the other in her or his environment.
I encounter things, situations, people whom I’m tempted to photograph — they come to me like images I feel I’ve seen before. Those images seem familiar to me and in a way, they make me feel comfortable because I know them somehow. But I refuse to photograph them. The suspicion, that I feel this familiarity because those images are rooted in a widespread stereotypical cliché-representation of what something should be or should look like, makes me feel uncomfortable with myself and what I stand for. It might sound like an easy task to come to India and show “India” to the world because we know which images satisfy audiences, sell, get to be printed in magazines and win photo prizes. But that’s not the work that has to be done. That’s only the lazy comfortable option. The work should be digging deeper and creating images that in their complexity dare to go beyond the already known, seen.
It is the gaze! One’s own gaze defines almost everything, the perception and then, what follows is the starting point for our storytelling... how to look at things? From where? Where to start? From what?
As a woman, I feel one has to walk the streets as if numb. Numb against the objectifying male gaze.
Dust tells time, of how long this tree has stood next to the street without any rain, of how recently this part of the pavement has been cleaned and this other one hasn’t, of how long ago this building has been neglected, of how precious this car is to its owner.
In a place in which almost everything is privatised the question about the collective and collectivity floats in a vacuum.
“Your home is your identity” that was the slogan of an advertisement for building materials
displayed on the back of a bus.
Male faces, portraits, photographs dominate the urban landscape. Almost no women are represented outside of commercial and/or political advertisements of male politicians.
Why do terrible things so often have fancy names, like for example The British Colonial Rule? This should be called The British Invasion and extraction of a land’s resources and human lives.
A never-ending story: The big-monumental-modern-shiny-blue-silver buildings couldn’t have existed without having rough wooden sticks supporting them and human-flesh-energy putting
them together as cheap labourer, carrier, caretakers for their growth.
It is scary to think about how many times this cab has almost hit another vehicle in this impossible
traffic on my way someplace not too far away.
I thought of starting to create my installations from the margins not from the centre. But then I thought, why that? Every place in itself is its own centre.

  • 1. Behind-the-scenes © Marvin Systermans
    1. Behind the scenes
  • 2. Behind-the-scenes © Raisa Galofre
    2. Behind the scenes
  • 2. Behind-the-scenes © Marvin Systermans
    3. Behind the scenes
  • 4. Behind the scenes © Raisa Galofre
    4. Behind the scenes
  • 5. Behind the scenes © Marvin Systermans
    5. Behind the scenes
  • 6. Behind the scenes © Marvin Systermans
    6. Behind the scenes
  • 7. Study day Tharangavana © Raisa Galofre
    Study day Tharangavana
  • 7. Behind the scenes © Marvin Systermans
    7. Behind the scenes
  • 8. Behind the scenes © Marvin Systermans
    8. Behind the scenes
  • 9. Behind the scenes © Raisa Galofre
    9. Behind the scenes
  • 10. Behind the scenes © Raisa Galofre
    10. Behind the scenes
  • 11. Behind the scenes © Raisa Galofre
    11. Behind the scenes
  • Exhibition Opening © Indian Insitute for Human Settlement
    Exhibition Opening
  • Exhibition Opening © Raisa Galofre and Marvin Systermans
    Exhibition Opening