In this event, it was important to observe that how a previously conceived idea or a work of art transforms and generates unexpected situations/reactions, while exposed to the larger public and space. There was some kind of shift in expectations and planning that Suhasini clearly realized during the event, and addressed several times. In spite of all, the work was successful, because it activated the space quite well and attracted many people for interaction, and in this way fulfilled the core reasons of a public art event.
A local shop owner, who makes printing blocks, stamps, signage, and one of the collaborators in Suhasini’s project, was commissioned to make three dimensional cutouts like (metal) words. A hand pulled rickshaw was decorated with the words that form a few lines of a poem written by Rabindranath Tagore. Finally the poem took a ride on the rickshaw through streets and lanes of the locality.
In the beginning the rickshaw was stationed in front of the Oriental Seminary School for public viewing and especially for school children who were passing by at that time. Many school students were interested and spoke to the team members, and then their reactions were thoroughly recorded. Later, the rickshaw traveled through nearby streets and narrow lanes. It was pulled intermittently by the artist, sometimes by the curious people on the street and members of the Chitpur local team.
The intention of this event was to attract attention of people for interaction with the artist and the members of the team, to give them an idea about artistic activities in public space, also to get their reactions. The responses we received were not enormous in number, but considerable and some extent pleasing. There was curiosity among the people and many came forward to interact or expressed their view. These conversations clearly indicated that how people think about the place, their consciousness about the poet (Rabindranath Tagore) and his association with the locality and understanding of the poem, which was on display. It was also observed that people had a strong sense of ownership and pride about the place. Many among others showed eagerness for more activities like this one in the area. The whole environment was encouraging, because everyone was busy on the streets, in the shops, but was extremely tolerant and curious about our activities and we faced no annoyance from anyone.
There were also various suggestions we received from different individuals on how to make the rickshaw more attractive, interesting and visible. These responses were equally important, because it gave the impression that some kinds of interactive elements, like the use of sound or distribution of printed flyers would have been more helpful to activate the space and to get more attention from people. We also received some feedback from different people on the language of the poem. It was in Bengali but we realized Hindi and English translations were needed because of linguistic verity in the area.
The event went on smoothly for a few hours and finally ended around midday in front of Chaitanya Library. The whole process of the event was documented photographically and in other format by Ranadeep, Varshita and Chayanika.