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Delayed by six months, but here at last, is the second collection of the Mapusa Market Repair and Recycle stories, belonging to a series of videos that Prashant and I have been making to highlight the repair points in Mapusa Market, where people fix your stuff to make it last longer. In this edition, we get to meet Nivrutti Palyekar, who can alter and fix your clothes for you, Pravin Narvekar, who runs the only shop in Mapusa where you can get your analog speedometer fixed, Ramu Bhomkar the raffu specialist who can darn a gaping hole in your garment to make it completely invisble, and Valenino Britto, the electrical repair man who fixes mixers, blenders and other kitchen appliances with the skill of an expert surgeon.

The videos have been collected into a playlist that plays them one after the other. Remember to switch on ‘Captions’ if you can’t see the English subtitles that are provided. (To play only a specific video, click on the Playlist button at the bottom of the player, and select the video you want from the list that will appear).

 

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As i was near the Pao market in Mapusa, this sound suddenly became apparent to me and i was attracted to it, it is the sound that the sugarcane juicer makes, these machines run all day and the sound is the result of a bell attached to the fly wheel. I liked how continuously and steadily it rang and gave the space a rhythm, a sound and because of its constant ringing, it becomes  somewhat invisible. But it is very much there and it plays day in, day out. I had of course, heard this sound before, in fact these sugarcane machines use a bell all over India, as a looping audio advertisement for sugarcane juice. Only this time, perhaps, it was because i was on the look out for a starting point, that it resulted in me making these films.

There are 8 of these machines spread across the market and they are beautiful things, most of them run with all the gears and cogs exposed, due to a lack of health and safety standards in India. But it is because of this exposed machinery that they have an industrial era charm to them, and this coupled with a continuous spinning and ringing makes the apparatus reminiscent of clock work.

8 sugarcane juice shops spread across Mapusa Market, Goa

Here are the 3 films I screened in Mapusa Market, Goa on the 31st of January 2014. I request you to watch these full screen on Youtube as the plug in does not allow full screen and ideally at 720P HD quality.

Simultaneous

This film is an illustration of this idea of simultaneity, the idea that everything is bound by the single thread of time and all that happens along it, happens all at once. This idea becomes more apparent in a bustling market place like Mapusa Market, as there is a lot of activity happening in a rather condensed space.

To illustrate this abstract idea, I have layered the sound of each machine to gradually build up to a cacophonous crescendo. It is an imaginary juxtaposition, this collective sound would only be heard if all of the machines were together at one place, which in reality would never happen. But although far apart, it is true that these sounds coincide everyday around 9:00 am till about 7:00 pm. It is just that they lie spread out and we can’t actually hear them all at once, this film makes that happen.

 

Silhouettes/clockwork

The shots used in this film are all from the perspective of the shop or the juicer himself, the camera sees a rather pretty looking silhouette of the machine, the camera cannot see light and dark together, it only wants to focus on either light or dark. This worked for me as it created a beautiful shot. It does not look as impressive with the naked eye. Here again, the clockwork like movement and ticking/tinkling of the bell, gives the film a temporal feel. The world outside seems to continue relentlessly, with apathy and without regard, just as time does, this relentlessness may also refer to the nature of the market, apart from it being a vibrant cultural space, it is also an intense battleground of trade and commerce.

 

Sum of many parts

The idea for this film, started as a spontaneous sketch as i was editing the other two films. I thought well, I can construct a fictitious machine, by individually showing the various revolving parts from different machines. This film is an audio-visual unification of all the 8 machines into one imaginary machine.

On the 31st of January ’14, I screened these films in Mapusa market, it was quite an experience. Because, I was showing a kind of art film, people there may or may not see it as art. Expectedly, everyone asked me, what is the point of this? I explained, well I found this machine and its ringing attractive so i decided to make a short film, it is also kind of a study of just this machine and its movement. Some people weren’t amused so I added, I see this film as part of a process and an instrument to have a conversation with you, so in a way the point of the film is to create an interaction. Some folks seemed to appreciate this but a man I spoke to in the end wasn’t satisfied. Eventually, with some desperation it occurred to me and I resorted to saying well why is there a wheel in the national flag, to justify this film by adding a popular reference and therefore a dimension of purpose. This somewhat quelled his curiosity, although I cannot be certain, perhaps he had enough of me.

I screened these films back to back for nearly 2 hours and 15 minutes, starting at 6:00 pm on till 8:15 pm and amazingly, at any given point, there were 6-7 people watching the films at the minimum and at some other points, a good 15-20 people watching it. A lot of people watched it and didn’t ask any questions. I can only wonder what went through their minds.

Unfortunately, I must say the star of the show was, the Dell P-65 LED mini projector. The first time I saw it, I was amazed at how small it was. So it was no wonder everyone was also amazed in the market. About 6 out of 10 people asked me if this was a demo and how much the projector costs etc. I immediately realised, that indeed I am in a bustling market, people expect to see things selling. And it was Friday, which is market day. The market massively increases in density, and many big sellers come here. ( https://mappingmapusamarket.wordpress.com/category/friday-bazaar/ ) Eventually, I had to put up a ‘Projector not for sale’ note at the side. This way I could just point to the note and say, please watch the film.

A sixteen year old, DVD selling, migrant boy called Akhtar, hailing from U.P. asked me, since you make films, well, why don’t you show the big bridge in Calangute, the Western Ghats and people parasailing on the beaches? To which I said, yeah I could even show pictures of the USA but the point is that i have to stay local, Nayim, his friend, unexpectedly then said something in my favour, he said “jo cheez dikhti nahin woh dikhate hain yeh” (he is showing stuff that doesn’t necessarily get seen man). I thanked Nayim in my head and said yes thats more to the point. During the process 2 people even asked for my number, a certain Mr. Prasad and Mr. Vishal with whom I had intense conversations, they said they like the film but do not know what to make of them but they seemed impressed and to me they seemed like thinking inquisitive folk, unfortunately I left 4 days later and I never got a call from them.

This was the first public art project, I have done, I have seen public art and deeply appreciate how the works on display prompts passers by to ask questions and try to understand what is going on. I like the fact that the average person, is not connected with the popular discourse of art, his mind is not conditioned to make stereotypical connections, it fascinates me as to what such a person would take from something like this. Often they make comments and ask questions, that would have never occurred to myself. Interacting with people in the market and trying to communicate the idea, clarifies my own perspective and therefore I see it all as part of the process. But perhaps, next time I will show films that people here can relate more to.

One of the highlights of the exhibition that we had at the end of the second Mapping Mapusa Market workshop in December 2013 was the mural that Meghana and Jessica made. These two students of the Sociology Department of Goa University decided to focus on the Goan bread (the pao) and all its aspects, from manufacture to delivery. Their mural was a part of their ‘project work’, which also included a video and plenty of sketches. The mural (which still remains on the wall of the entrance of the Mapusa market, thanks to some hair spray) depicts the traditional Goan bread-seller, the ‘poder‘, and his evolution over the years – from the days when he used to come walking with a basket and a bamboo staff, to current day when (in some areas at least) he comes on a scooter.

In my area (Caranzalem), the poder hasn’t switched over to motorised vehicles yet and he still comes on a bicycle with a basket and hand-blow horn, but in some places in Goa they even use cars and vans to deliver the Paos!

I believe much of the bread in the traditional bakeries is still made in wood fired ovens (bhattis) though other aspects of the process may have got mechanised along the way (like the dough, which may be made in an electric mixer).

Here’s the video of the making of the mural. If you’re in Goa, go see it live at Mapusa Market before the hair spray wears out!