Community Media/MARAA/Projects/CMC CVU/Project Plan
Post-colonial forces of modernization and impact of globalization have redefined and fundamentally reconstructed concepts of power, community, development and daily life. In Bangalore, over the last decade, the sense of community is getting more and more fragmented. Current forms of alienation have further been capitalized by political and economic forces within our society towards achieving a vicious cycle of exploitation and misrepresentation. The project seeks to investigate (as a pilot) if a community based media space can help rethink sense of community. This media space will collect micro-histories of communities, generate new knowledge by documenting people’s histories as it evolves and gather diverse notions of regionalism, communalism, inter-generational relationships etc in order to get a sense of this fragmentation process. The project aims to study the viability, scope and effectiveness of this media centre through initial ethnographic field work, allowing people to choose “appropriate media” for expression, and eventually analyse the community based media content. Further, the media space could help take collective action towards conservation of city space with regards to heritage, climate and culture.
- Interface with communities in two areas (and surrounding localities) in Bangalore City (Ulsoor and Domlur) exploring forms of media like theatre, art, audio-visual, internet, print; to then be able to study their relevance as tools in initiating cross-cultural dialogue
- Mapping neighbourhood histories of these areas and collating sub-altern views from historical, political and socio-economic perspectives
- Renewed collection of formal and informal pools of existent, new and depleting knowledge by encouraging creation of independent content
- Deepen understanding of cause and effect(s) of fragmentation in Bangalore in order to rethink current sense(s) of community
- Attempting to address the politics of representation and imbalance between mainstream and alternative media in approach and content
- Addressing a present lack of community relationships in public domain, with media and other public institutions
- The project will result in detailed information database (historical and cultural) about Domlur, Ulsoor and surrounding smaller localities. This has not been documented formally before, and will be a valuable asset to historians, ethnographers and foremost, the community members themselves.
- The project will result in the formation of a community based core team of community media practitioners who would have engaged in a two year long process working with media, in order to critically reflect upon media usage within the context of their communities.
- A physical community media centre (single or multiple community venues and resource points) situated within Domlur/Ulsoor, working with media chosen by community members. This center’s role and function will be dependant on the community’s process and arrival at media and content choice/s.
- Increased engagement and open accessibility to media in order to create, express, share and learn through workshops, discussions, mapping exercises, documentation
- Holistic understanding of existing and emerging issues related to gender, health, local governance, labour, violence, education etc and arriving at collective consciousness of the same with multi-lingual and local tone of expression
- The sustainability of this media centre is dependent on its exact physical manifestation and inherent management skills of community members
We have chosen to work with specific regions of Bangalore namely Ulsoor and Domlur (and surrounding areas). Within (popular and informed) cultural (sub)consciousness, Ulsoor (also called Halasuru) represents “old Bangalore” as it functioned then (and continues to exist) on the fringes of a colonial core/city center (British patronised cantonment regions). Domlur exists as an eclectic sprawling mix of sub-urban “commercial meets residential” existence:- army affiliated colonies, high, middle and low income residence spaces and ancient relics like a 10th century built ancient Chola kings patronized temple. Given this sense of energized old-new, “seeking to modernize” and “hoping to retain traditionalism” conflict, and to add to it, layers of post colonial inter-linguistic, economic and class tension within and in between these communities, this community exercise calls for enormous inter-community self understanding, and “re-membering” community histo-geographies to address personal-social conflict, creatively attempt to resolve points of tension and enrich physical, conceptual and ideative community space. Access to media content & tools by Indian communities has always boiled down to economics - which resulted in creating the media consumer and consequent content drain. Challenging this commerce fed perception of media, exploring possibilities with media tools and probable community created content would be new approaches by community. With specific reference to observing and documenting micro-histories, communities would differently engage with themselves through media, thus subsequently altering mainstream perception.
With micro-histories, comes a deeper understanding of past and current status of community living, existence and negotiations, which challenge, expand and resolve polarities. A process such as this provides scope for exchange and learning of knowledge which is local, diverse and indigenous. This helps in cultural and social realignments by re-building a sense of community in these areas and developing newer and dynamic personal, social, business and political networks. Community media creates a strong way to make, review, produce, and present personal and political points of view and expression. This means that now local communities can now avoid the politics of representation and talk about what terms like development, progress, community, etc mean to them, with their own voice and opinions. Bangaloreans have started disassociating with the formation of the New Bangalore – some subconsciously and other obviously. The cityscape is changing at a rapid pace – at a physical and a metaphysical level. Rampant construction and demolition leads to new landscapes, drastic shift in lifestyle choices, and collective economies leads to new kinds of divides, habits and attitudes influenced heavily by mainstream media. People change the way they negotiate with this emerging city. The city is in a state of flux and transition. It becomes very important here not discard everything ‘old’, and accept everything ‘new’. This centre aims to subjectively document and study these subtle yet violent and rapid changes at the societal and individual level.
At the end of this project, there will emerge a new model for ways of understanding the relationship between community and media, and ways of rethinking a sense of community, which could then be potentially and contextually explored for other areas elsewhere. The media centre will be a physical attempt at reclaiming mediascape of the city, to move against the homogenization of thought and media monopoly. With alternative media like this, communities (thematic and geographic) will have opportunities to express views and opinions which are often termed as “politically incorrect” or “controversial” or “irrelevant”. The content that is generated through this media process will be accessible through multiple platforms, like internet, video, print, radio and theatre. Further, this content will not be privatized or be used for profit, but will be made available again as a commons to be dynamically reused and regenerated by people within the community. This kind of alternative content will be distributed widely, thus leading to alternative and multiple imaginations of the city itself, and more importantly, these imaginations will be by the inhibitors of the city. This scenario will prevent the city from being trapped in any ‘one’ imagining of a diverse place like Bangalore. This act of deepening democracy through media and the democratization of media itself, will lead to a less judgmental culture.