Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Uttarakhand Group: Mandi as Metaphor

Image: Uttarakhand Group assembled in their Mandi Metaphor for their presentation.

The Uttarakhand Group was the first to complete their model by the evening today so we decided to have their presentation while the other three groups would have theirs tomorrow morning. The team worked out a way to reuse their Himalayan Mountain range model by using it as a backdrop to locate the wild life and fauna of the region while the main exhibit was that of a Sabji Mandi or vegetable market through which they tried to explain the current level of understanding about Food and the chosen region in the context of design possibilities going forward.

Image: Uttarakhand Group assembled in their Mandi Metaphor with the teachers included.

The Mandi metaphor was however not used as effectively buy the group to make their presentation as it came out in the discussions and critique that followed the groups presentation. According to the comments from the teachers it showed a lack of an articulation or visualisation of relationships that formed the core of the concerns that the group had indeed identified and expressed as very interesting images of islands of concerns that were arranged on the backdrop. The four main headings of Production, Distribution , Consumption and Impact did offer the group an adequate framework for linking the various sub-groups and issues that were in the field of vision but the audience felt that they missed showing the linkages between all the issues covered there.

Image: Uttarakhand Group assembled in their Mandi Metaphor as the class presentation progresses.

Further the lack of detail at the next lower level of the structure was also pointed out in the arguments and comments that followed. The Mandi visual was quite effective in getting a feel of the place and the context as a whole and I used the metaphor of the Constellations to show that association of star groups were given meaning by showing the invisible lines that gave the groups its form as a visual symbol which made it memorable and recognisable in the rich ground of all the other stars. Each illustration was rich and when the team explained the model it was clear that the team had come a long way forward in their understanding of both Food as well as the context on the ground in the Uttaranchal region through their meetings with experts in the field, but the group failed to tell us who they met and how the insights were actually collected and put together in their model. In all the group efort was appreciated by the class particularly since this group was able to meet the very tight deadline and come through with a fairly high degree of effective representation and discourse.

We do look forward to some rich presentations from the other three groups in the morning tomorrow. The order of presentation will have the Goa Group making their presentation at 9.30 am and this would be followed by the other two between 10.30 and 12.30 pm tomorrow. The afternoon session is for the next lecture on Design Opportunities after which the groups will start work on their next assignments dealing with Design Opportunities in the area using the formats that have been developed for this purpose.

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