What happens when art meets technology and wants to make a nomadic home in a city choking for space? The answer is as simple as Jaaga, which in Kannada, means ‘space’.

Back in 2009, a structure draped in tarpaulin popped up almost overnight on Rhenius Street. Its neighbours driven by curiosity took a few tentative steps towards it. Two years later, the nomadic Jaaga has found a new home on KH Road and has grown into something more than just a passing curiosity, into a living work of art and innovation.

Jaaga’s co-founders and directors, Archana Prasad with a background in Fine Arts, and Freeman Murray, an angel investor and technologist, sought to create a space to engage the community in innovative efforts revolving around art, technology and social activism. ‘Jaaga’, a Kannada word, translates to ‘space’.

It is no ordinary space. Jaaga is designed ‘to engage and exist without weighing heavily on the earth’s limited natural resources’. It is like a DIY kit which can be assembled in less than a day and dismantled as easily. Pallet rack shelving, paper honeycomb walls, plywood flooring, tarpaulin, and recycled and reusable material are the core materials that make up this modular structure. A green wall and a sculpture greet you at first glance.


On what she expects out of Jaaga, Prasad says, “I am really interested to learn how a prototype like Jaaga, when made and used, will challenge the artists-designers working in it, the neighbourhood it is located in, and eventually challenge the notion that permanence is desirable.”

Murray says, “My trajectory is clearly pointing towards finding that environment in which we can be optimally productive and happy at the lowest cost. I believe it will involve pallet racks, the internet, yoga and local organic leafy green salads.”

Prasad and Murray are backed by their team, Naresh Narasimhan, the Chairperson, Sean Blagsvedt, Advisor and Kiran DSilva, Facilities Manager, and a host of volunteers, collaborators and visiting artists.

Since its inception, true to form, Jaaga has played host to numerous innovative, community-based projects and exhibitions by artists. The Neighbourhood Diaries sought to capture the history of Bangalore neighbourhoods and started with Whitefield. Prasad collaborated with Krupa Rajangam of Savthu on this project. Urban Bengaluru was a photography exhibition while Jaaga Sound & Lights was a lighting and sound installation by German sound and theater artist, Tobias Rosenberger.

Jaaga Media Centre seeks to promote digital media and Jaaga also opens its doors to media students interested in interning with experts and invites expert collaborators and fellows.

Jaaga’s green wall

Some recurring events include Poetry Across Borders, Pecha Kucha (Japanese for ‘chit chat’), Media Mayhem and Hackathon. Conceived in Japan, Pecha Kucha nights are for architects. It is a presentation of 20 slides for 20 seconds each and Jaaga has partenered with Venkataramanan Associates to bring the Pecha Kucha nights. Poetry Across Borders are poetry readings, where poetry circles from Bangalore, Melbourne and Berlin come together through a live exchange.

You can also look in on organic markets, the Second to None flea market (the next one is said to be scheduled for Nov 12), and browse through the neat Jaaga Stuff. Jaaga today is registered as a Public Charitable Trust.

French artist and Expert Fellow at Jaaga, Clemence Barret blogs, “In spite of its heterogeneous components, Jaaga has a uniqueness due to its personality: non-judgmental, it is in search for an alter-modernity; happy and warm, it is longing for re-inventing a creative, common world made by local as well as global exchanges.”

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media/ www.raintreemedia.com

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