Inheritance Projects


Sarai Reader 09


Inheritance Projects have been invited by Sarai-CSDS - a Delhi-based institute for research, practice and conversation about contemporary media and urban constellations - to participate in Sarai Reader 09: Episode 2. The Sarai Reader is a nine-month exhibition curated by Raqs Media Collective that will unfold as a process of generative of visions, concepts, speculations and projections.

For the Sarai Reader 09: Episode 2, Inheritance Projects will propose a new starting point for an investigation into notion of "the new" in New Towns through an open letter, as well as an archival installation accounting for our previous New Towns Project activities - INH-SZ in Shenzhen, China (2009-10) and Community without Propinquity at MK Gallery in Milton Keynes (2011). We will also present a curated film programme of contemporary artist-film from our New Towns archive of works from artists Bernd Behr, Cyprien Gaillard, Coryy McCorkle and Pia Ronicke. The exhibition is a collaboration between Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon and Sarai-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Sarai Reader 09

Sarai Reader 09, curated by Raqs Media Collective, is a nine month exhibition that will unfold as a process generative of visions, concepts, speculations and projections which, in turn, make room for heresy, for new modalities of being, for exchanges, relays and interferences. The exhibition will posit a situation of shifting co­-inhabitation in a space by many agents and actors, in diverse, multiple, conjoined and contradictory ways. It is a collaboration between Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, and Sarai­-Centre for Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.

Sarai Reader 09 will gather works incrementally over the nine months. Artists, researchers, scholars, curators, critics, filmmakers, writers, performers, dancers,musicians, magicians, activists, scientists, photographers, archivists, architects, poets, journalists, and more, are invited to make proposals that can be timed for specific durations. The exhibition space will keep transforming.

The Open Letter

Dear Reader,

We hope you receive this letter in the manner in which it is written, with openness and generosity. We recognise our contingency on the knowledge and resources of others. From this position, we ask you to share your thoughts, your experiences, your art and your research.

We seek to come together as a community without propinquity1, formed from an accumulation of singularities, within an ensemble of multitudes. We are travellers with unanswered questions, it is this lack of an ordered and measured origin that we must champion (2). We inhabited Shenzhen (3), put down transient roots in Milton Keynes (4); we are on route to Chandigarh and hope to visit Brasilia soon. We are propelled by a curious pursuit of the new: the claim of an absolute imposed by architects and planners. Their demand for newness, as a mark of progress, underpinned by a belief in order as its measure (5), is symbolized in the physical constructions developed in advance of imaginary, future populations. The new works to simultaneously erase accidents and appendages, to substitute time and histories (6). Yet, the notion of newness, of neutrality, of a life with no alleged precedent requires blindness. We want to reimagine the site of newness, its ‘white wall’ (7), as something structurally dense and problematic, never neutral. We want to understand the temporality of a place and its people who live in insistent newness. This letter is a gentle provocation, and our political act(8) (in as much as all acts are political). It is a sincere request for your companionship on a nomadic investigation into the declaration of novelty. Dare we try to build a community and support its network? What are the legacies and the consequences of this claim? Where are the blind spots in intentionally planned urban densities? When does new become less new? What happens to the old? Does tradition negate newness? What constitutes the new in New Delhi? When will Navi Mumbai be old? With this letter we wish to make a connection, to meet you, not at the beginning but somewhere in the middle (9), to reach out, and, in return, to be humbled and strengthened by your response.


Inheritance Projects

Becky Ayre, Laura Guy, Claire Louise Staunton


1. Becky Ayre, Laura Guy and Claire Louise Staunton (eds), Community Without Propinquity, MK Gallery and Inheritance Projects (2011).

2.‘Perhaps this new journey leads us into gloomy regions and perhaps our sense of direction is sometimes confused; but it is this process of travelling with unanswered questions, it is this lack of an ordered and measured origin that we must champion.’ Antonio Negri, ‘Art and Culture in the Age of Empire and the Time of the Multitudes’, SubStance, 36, 1 (112) (2007).

3. Shenzhen

4. Milton Keynes

5. See image above

6.'The evidence in the private papers of several Punjabi political leaders such as Gopi Chandra Bhargava and Bhim Sen Sachchaar available at the NMML suggests that they preferred one of the existing cities to become the capital, and lobbied to safeguard the interests of their constituencies. They were, however, overruled by Nehru.’ Tai Yong Tan and Gyanesh Kudaisya,The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia (London: Routledge, 2002): 285.

7.Mark Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture, (Cambridge MASS: MIT Press, 1995).

8. The Open Hand, Chandigarh, by Le Corbusier, ‘The open hand . . . is the only political act of my life.’

9.‘The rhizome is reducible neither to the One nor the multiple. . . . It is composed not of units but of dimensions, or rather directions in motion. It has neither beginning nor end, but always a middle (milieu) from which it grows and which it overspills.’ Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus. (Brian Massumi trans.) (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987): 21.

Film Programme

Cities of Light (Total running time: 34’ 28”)

Pia Rönicke, Zonen, 2005. 16mm transferred to digital video, 22’00’’
Bernd Behr, Weimar Villa, 2010. HD Video, 9'28" (looped twice)
Corey McCorkle, Tower of Shadows, 2006, 16mm transferred to digital video, 3’00’’

Presenting the work of three artists whose work utilises the medium of film or video to probe ideas that underpin the planning and development of New Towns internationally. Zonen (Pia Rönicke, 2005) follows three young architects as they visit the imaginary site of a proposed town in a rural area of Denmark, SK. Suspended somewhere between fiction and reality and past and present, Zonen reveals a sometime contradictory gap between intention and action in the development of intentional urban densities?. Similarly in Weimar Villa (Unreconstructed) (Bernd Behr, 2010) the filmmaker turns to the construction site, this time of a Bauhaus-themed development in China designed by Albert Speer Jr. The footage is screened in reverse causing the video to occupy an ambiguous juncture between the new and the archaeological within a potentially endless cycle of construction and excavation. Finally Tower of Shadows (Corey McCorkle, 2006) focuses on Le Courbusier’s famous unfinished monument in Chandigarh, India, as, the sun rises and sets across it on the shortest day of the year with exaggerated speed. Within each work, the city is projected as a zone from where we witness the discontinuities of the utopian project. Consigned to film these cycles, of destruction, construction, desires and reality, come to repeat upon themselves before an audience.