Canned Life

Canned Life is a multi-media installation in miniature which reveals the unlikely connection between New Delhi’s forlorn Coronation Park (the site of the 1877, 1903, and 1911 British Durbars) and the famous 45 year old artist slum of Kathputli Colony by tracing the ‘natural history’ of the Bioscope – the once revolutionary, now century old film projection technology that has remained in vestigial form in the folk tradition of India’s bioscopewallahs.  Canned Life is a brief encounter between these two sites using video and photographs mounted in small windows to reflect the anarchic, spliced-image and peep-show style of the Bioscopes and the original 19th century form's dedication to 'looking at life' (Greek: bios-skopeein). 

As both sites are imminently facing radical changes (the Park will be made into a heritage corridor and the Colony will be raised and replaced with 10 story high-rises), Canned Life is an illustration of the difficulty of trying to understand these two sites beyond the usual frames of heritage, environment, and cultural significance.  In the context of Delhi’s massive changes with the Commonwealth Games, this project curates the vibrant thread of spectacle as it continues to run through the city’s history and radically affect the built environment.