'Untitled' by Prathima Muniyappa
'Untitled' by Prathima Muniyappa

'Untitled' by Prathima Muniyappa

Rs. 40,000.00

Edition of 10

48 x 25.5 Inches, Framed 

Mixed media collage printed on archival paper

About the artwork

"Nature is a brilliant engineer and builder. It knows how to create seashells that are twice as strong as the  most resistant ceramics human beings can manufacture, and it produces silk fibres five times stronger than  steel. Nature also knows how to create multipurpose forms." – Neri Oxman

Hailing from the North eastern state of Meghalaya in India, the Khasis community are famous for having  evolved a synergistic technology of weaving living architecture by braiding tree roots of the Ficus elastica, a  rubber tree into architectural structures, like bridges, platforms and stairs. The nature of the landscape  breathes the Khasi’s culture into being. They exist in kinship and communion with the living beings with  whom they share the land. They act as co-designers with the environment’s constitutive species and their  practices offer us alternative ways to think of dwelling. Now a root bridge can take anywhere from 10-40  years to build and become structurally stable, advances in synthetic biology and genetic modification might  be one way of growing bridges in shorter time spans, and is a motivation to seek a collaboration between  scientists and indigenous practitioners.

The threshold between cultural and scientific knowledge lies at the centre of Prathima Muniyappa’s  practice. By learning from indigenous practices she surmises that there are radically different ways of  production, consumption and extraction as we learn to listen to the language of nature.

About the artist

Prathima is a designer, artist and conservator in the space enabled research group at MIT Media Lab,  Massachusetts. Her PhD thesis focuses on enabling agency and self representation for indigenous people in  the conservation of indigenous knowledge. Her research investigates alternative cosmologies for their  potential to contribute to the emerging discourse on techno-imaginaries in the realm of space exploration,  synthetic biology and extended intelligence.

Prathima’s work (exhibited here) explores the myths of the cosmos, studying ancient wisdom about  cosmology, learning from tribes across the world, whether it's in the Lichnananthay people of the Chilean  Atacama or the Maasai of Kenya. She is learning from the incredible Khasi community in Meghalaya whose  practice of building living root bridges provokes us to imagine alternative ways to conceive of architecture,  as structures that are grown rather than built or assembled. She is moved by the interconnectedness of all  living matter and this theme is deeply embedded in her work.

Prior to MIT, she has completed her masters in Design Studies in Critical Conservation at The Graduate  School of Design, Harvard, under a Full Bright Scholarship. She also holds a B-Des from National Institute of  Design, India, and is a Young India Fellow 2013-14

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