Series of Works
Photography, video, rendering (CGI)
2006 to 2009, 2012
Text: Maja Weyermann, taken from documentation, 2008
For her Chandigarh project, Maja Weyermann made multiple visits to the Indian city of Chandigarh, which had been planned by Swiss architect Le Corbusier.
Maja Weyermann’s work about the city explores the degree to which spatial theories or concepts function when they are “exported”.
Le Corbusier triggered a great deal of controversy with his notion for a modern city that stipulated a clear spatial separation between living, working and leisure activities. Nonetheless, his largely monumental architectural style was highly regarded internationally, and so in 1951 he was commissioned to build the city of Chandigarh. Although he did try to deal with India in his own way, his designs depend on a European concept of space.
Through simulations of selected buildings and spaces in Chandigarh as well as interviews and text, Weyermann explores the various codes and the difference in how space is culturally perceived and conceived.
Maja Weyermann generates multi-perspectival renderings of these 3D simulations that utilise the vocabulary of both photography and painting in order to connect fragmentary memories and notions of space with a reconstruction of the original plans.
Interviews with urban planners, architects and residents as well as text fragments from the interviews are further elements of a multi-media collage about a city that is as European as it is Indian.
Textfragments of the interviews:
”Chandigarh is as Indian as English is Indian. English is just another Indian language, even though it was brought here by the colonist. Chandigarh is as Indian as tomatoes and red chili are Indian, and these too were brought by the Portuguese, but are now part of Indian culture.” (Prof. V. Prakash)
“The plan of the city of Chandigarh is based on an urbanity that was new at the time. Urbanity developed in Europe in the late 19th, early 20th century, but it has still not developed significantly in India.” (Prof. A.G.K. Menon)
“I appreciate the architecture of Chandigarh, it appeals to my sensibility. From the point of view of aesthetics and art history, everything is there, but for people using this architecture, it is somehow not so suitable or fulfilling or satisfying…” (Dr. R. Bhandari)
“The middle class, who are happy with suburban life, are extremely happy in Chandigarh.” (Prof. K.T. Ravindran)
“There is a huge difference in the population density we are culturally used to and the density of Chandigarh; maybe a happy medium is possible. It might be possible and a positive thing if there were a greater density in the sectors, which could inject vitality and liveliness to neighbourhoods of Chandigarh.” (Ar. S.K. Das)
“Le Corbusier did not understand the scale of the informal sector and its myriad activities – such as the wheeled carts, the crafts and the numerous service enterprises – and the size of the population that depended on these for survival…” (Ar. S.K. Das)