shortlist | Place Alchemy
Srivastava Nayan, Manas Ranjan, Kartikeya Sonkar, Mumbai (IND)
In Reori Talab, a district in Varanasi, India, the existing community, which has been shaped by the traditional craft of sari weaving since the 17th century, is threatened by the loss of its specific identity and neighbourhood. Due to increasing tourism and sales of cheap, industrially manufactured textiles, a process of displacement has begun which also leads to the musealization of traditional city quarters. In order to better understand and counteract these developments, “Place Alchemy” examines the backgrounds of musealization of neighbourhoods and cities in an abstract manner. In the context of the current situation in Reori Talab, this is conceived as cyclical: in the urban fabric, certain districts fulfil certain functions and are characterized by topological as well as mental, socio-cultural and social attributions which are in constant flux. This change can eventually cause functions to lose their relationship with the original spatial context, thus losing their true meaning. The harmonization of this interplay serves to counteract musealization processes, in order to conserve urban living and urban production even in culturally inflected spaces of a growing city as authentic living and working spaces.