Rachel Lee, bangaloREsident@MOD, who is based at the Habitat Unit of the TU Berlin, works at the interface between architectural and urban research, teaching, curating and art practice. She has been engaging with India’s historic built environment since 1998, when she surveyed Chemrey monastery in Ladakh.
While always an important aspect of her interdisciplinary work, urban heritage has recently become its main focus.
Her current projects investigate curating and communicating heritage ‘from below’ in different cultural contexts, including Berlin and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Together with local actors and activists in Bangalore Rachel Lee will be working on an augmented reality heritage app during the residency. The app will use vintage photos of Bangalore to guide people through the city, providing historical insights and anecdotes, and an innovative way of engaging with the Garden City’s past.
My 5-week stay in Bangalore was spent developing an augmented reality urban heritage app—Timescape Bangalore—with partners from the University of Liverpool, Centre for Public History at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, and members of Bygone Bangalore. Together we created content for the app and improved its functionality.
While challenging at times, particularly due to the time constraints of the residency and the busy schedules of all the partners, we succeeded in creating a very viable beta version of Timescape Bangalore, which we presented at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan.
The residency enabled me to build on existing contacts in Bangalore that I had established during my PhD research in the city and transform them into collaborative partnerships. Although my stay was too short to complete a launchable version of the app, it gave me enough time to form a strong team of local partners that will be crucial for the next phase of the project.
In 2017 we plan to raise the funds needed to scale-up the project and dedicate full-time work to it. Aside from my project, I very much enjoyed and appreciated the other opportunities the Goethe-Institut gave me. These included getting to know the other residents and taking part in the organised events, such as Kris Merken’s moving theatre performance with Kirtana Kumar and Konarak Reddy. Another highlight was the trip to Kochi to visit the Biennale, which included guided tours of some of the exhibition sites and a meeting with the curators.