Monday, October 27, 2008

Parsi, Jain and Marwadi Food: An Anthro-look in DCC2008

Parsi, Jain and Marwadi Food: A closer look in Design Concepts and Concerns course in 2008. The batches involved included Graphic Design, Film and Video Communication, Furniture Design and Ceramic Design, all from the Post Graduate programmes at NID.

M P Ranjan

Image 1: Parsi food as a table setting of various categories of food from the Parsi fold and a backdrop of storyboards that was sued to tell a story of the Parsi way of life as the team understood it after their anthro-design investigations.

The Parsi food team had a matrix type storyboard on the wall and they used it from left to right and top to bottom to tell the story of the Parsi way of life and the role of food was woven well into their story. While the image and installation was not that visually rich they told a good tale and many insights about Parsi food came through in the presentation. An amazing number of facts had also been gathered by the team having contacted many Parsis in Ahmedabad and discovered the sources of supply of ingredients and Parsi delights.

Image 2: Jain food was represented as a road to salvation and a roundabout for the mortals. The route to Sainthood is flagged with street signs and terminates in a lamp.

The Jain food group spent more time explaining the philosophy of the Jains and their taboos for particular food types and as a consequence missed out on the appreciation of the value of Jain food and their potentials that is the purpose of the design investigation, to find sources of value and an understanding of the context at many levels. Their model was once again more symbolic than expressive and each section needed an explanation from the team for the finer aspects to be appreciated. The overall understanding that the team brought to the class was eventually quite deep.

Image 3: Marwadi food was shown as a very rich shop for provisions and the cultural attributes were captured in the icons, turbans and images of real food as well as the trappings of a real store in action, the balance, the price list and examples of food types all classified and visually articulated.

The Marwadi group had a collage of images of Marwadi food and an installation of the fields from a desert location besides the store metaphor that was the main attraction. The group also gave us a historical overview of the migratory passages of the community and the assimilation of various local cultures by way of food habits that the community had imbibed through this migratory passage over the years. In all a very rich presentation.

M P Ranjan

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