Samooha is an informal, interdisciplinary team of seven, including two community leaders from Sathenagar, four practicing architects and a cultural anthropologist specializing in urban studies. Drawing on ethnographic research on informal urban cultures, our project imagines the city itself as a studio – as an actor within the work of art and as an element that enables the work of art to emerge as such.

Street End
Street End © Samooha and MO-OF/Mobile Offices, 2016

With artists from Sathenagar, Samooha have created ‘On Stage: Sathenagar Here’, a public space for a series of performances, visual and discursive events about the nature of life, work and culture in informal communities. We focus on the principles of self-reliance, self-expression and self-making as they find their way into new visions for transforming society. Within the spaces, you find a series of photographs, videos and soundscapes documenting life in Sathenagar, inviting you to reflect on what is made there. It serves as a framework for dialogue between the communities of Sathenagar, Kochi and those visiting the Biennale.

Plan and Plinth and Long Section
Plan and Plinth and Long Section: Representing the spatial conditions of Sathenagar through the language of architecture and its social conditions through narrative, performance and images. © Samooha and MO-OF/Mobile Offices
Samooha’s installation weaves local conditions under which art is created into the fabric of the artistic works presented on the stage of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Samooha’s installation weaves local conditions under which art is created into the fabric of the artistic works presented on the stage of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. © Samooha and MO-OF/Mobile Offices, 2016
Experiences through Anitya Transcience
Experiences through Anitya Transcience: The programme connects a stage mirroring the spatial and social conditions of Sathenagar with images, narratives and performances produced by and with artists from Sathenagar. © Samooha and MO-OF/Mobile Offices, 2016

Moving beyond an emphasis on culture as an expression of self-identity and self-interest, On Stage highlights moments from forgotten histories and visions of an inclusionary society articulated by those most distant from the reins of social power.  This broad sentiment is shared by all the protagonists and participants from Sathenagar, even as they are keenly aware of the injustices, inequities and systemic failures which motivate their participation in various forms of direct political action