Sri Lanka 2017

We are excited to bring you the work from 2017 when Tropicality worked with City University of Architecture in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Please see the work, including films and drawings below, followed by the brief abstract for the year. In collaboration with architects and filmmakers students produced a series of films and drawings which sought to construct alternative historical ‘space’ through story, voice, image, and experience. The projects are the result of wandering the city, with different groups of students visiting neighborhoods of different economic status, engaging in conversations, then interviews with people who then invited us in to their neighborhoods, homes, and places of worship to film the space of their everyday lives. The interviews, film and drawing were edited and constructed in parallel, pushing back and forth on one another, to create a consideration as a kind of material-existential inquiry into the realities and strategies of the subjects.

 
 Sahaspura Mona Al-Jadir, Vindya Vishwabhashani Weerasinghe, Devmin Wickremasinghe

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 Meethotumulla Jonathan Edward, Ele Munn and Shun Saito

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Kithulwatte Lankabarana Dimantha Dharshana Weliange, Zixin Ye, Nguyen Duy Cuong

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Cinnamon Gardens Emelie Ahlqvist, Hồng Phong Phương, Ritchell Rufus

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The Brief

Year 3: Sri Lanka.  Updated Dates: Sunday 27th of August until Sunday 10th of September

“[we] … find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, the transformation of ourselves and our world – and at the same time, that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are…” – Marshall Berman

We felt as if the late Marshall Berman was speaking to us as we uncovered hidden stories of Saigon last year. Today many ‘developing’ tropical regions find themselves transforming more rapidly than ever before in a torrent of converging forces which promise empowerment and freedom but also bring unforeseen loss, complexity and struggle.

Tropicality invites you to join our group of nomads as we construct architectural stories of dwelling and the domestic space in enigmatic tropical places. For the past two years we explored urbanising Costa Rica and Vietnam, this year we will journey to the southern Indian Ocean. Both a sense of urgency in our own work and a hope for an interesting future compel us to search beneath the towers, suburbs and slums, to de-mystify the nostalgic and exotic and to observe, record and invent.

Using selected writings, and through discussions of cinema, critical history and architecture, we will assume the role of forensic investigators, heightening our sense of suspicion and sharpening our gaze. We will use interviews and material evidence to reveal personal stories of uncertainty, conflict, power and independence behind progress, economic growth, changing habits and routines. Based on close-readings of personal stories of the house and searches for dwelling you will then build a narrative, thesis, film and diagram which together become a vision: both as a way of seeing and projecting.

Palgedara Herata Banda is a famer who works in an onion farm at night in Sigirya, Sri Lanka. His job is to chase away wild elephants which come in the night to destroy the crops. The technqiues he uses are yelling at them and firecrackers. The only protection he has while doing his night watch is the little bamboo hut at the bottom of the tree which he stay overnight.

Palgedara Herata Banda is a famer who works in an onion farm at night in Sigirya, Sri Lanka. His job is to chase away wild elephants which come in the night to destroy the crops. The technqiues he uses are yelling at them and firecrackers. The only protection he has while doing his night watch is the little bamboo hut at the bottom of the tree which he stay overnight. (Alan Lim photo credit)