The Other [Inside] 1

The Other [Inside] 1 1.1

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Description: Wooden box structures suspended off the ground on stilt legs were a significant feature on the footpaths of Delhi and in other cities throughout India.  These scaled down and independent versions of retail spaces were used commercially to store and sell goods, or as the site for public services such as: cooking, washing, grooming or hairdressing.  The Action Researcher/Performer designed and then had constructed (to her specification by a local carpenter) a smaller scale but similar dimension wooden box, that had a circular hole cut out of the front and doors at the back for entry and exit.  A series of quotes by notable urban and social theorists (related to the Action Researcher/Performer's experience of Delhi) were translated into Hindi and then both texts were hand written onto long white cardboard strips.  A local rickshaw rider delivered the large wooden box to an identified footpath location on the main thoroughfare of Chandi Chowk in central Delhi.  Once positioned, the Action Researcher/Performer climbed inside and shut the two doors at the back of the box securely behind her.  She then opened the small circular hole at the front of the box, which was designed at sitting height to allow her arm to pass through.  Only revealing her right arm was enough to confirm her female and foreign status whilst remaining otherwise anonymous to the passing throng.  After being abducted (involving a well-organised criminal scam) on arrival at the Delhi airport and the resulting ramifications of this incident (including heightened exposure, threats and scrutiny), the Action Researcher/Performer was keen to conceal her identity as much as possible.  Using her right arm she started to slowly produce the signs from inside the box, showing the Hindi and then English texts one after the other.  Crowds of people gathered around to read the texts and after twenty minutes the police arrived announcing that the project could not continue.  There was increased tension in public spaces around Delhi and the wider region at this time, due to the impending Iraq War, which commenced ten days later.  See The Other [Inside] 2

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© Astra Howard 2014