The Downside of Commonwealth ‘Jugad’ : Mega-Event Footbridges

Grafitti Athens 2004

Graffiti Athens 2004

Images of the collapsed footbridge neighbouring New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru main stadium have made front-page news across the globe and shone unflattering light on India’s Commonwealth Games preparation. The Games, which are due to begin in under two weeks on the 3rd October, have been dogged by whispers of corruption, corner-cutting and a lack of leadership. Such whispers have recently descended into deafening shouts as concerns are voiced, by laymen and ministers alike, about the quality of construction efforts. Newly-erected buildings have been left in varying states of dilapidation due to annual monsoons, and the athletes’ village has been denounced as unfit for habitation.

It is possible that such a high-profile setback may become a symbol of the dangers of rushing regeneration into cities and societies unready for it, given that it has ultimately caused more destruction than good and more haste has resulted in less speed. Similarly, another footbridge closer to home, though still un-built, has also caused destruction. Manor Gardens in East London, a 100-year-old allotment, was wiped off the map for an Olympic footbridge, and though this footbridge may not fall apart, the loss of this historic and green site is perhaps a troubling indicator in itself of progress for the sake of thinly-defined progress.

If the concept, as well as the spirit of jugad is alive and well (the idea that things will get done, by hook or by crook), then organisers may be hoping that what is quickly turning into a Commonwealth debacle is only an exception that proves the rule.

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London-Delhi work to be showcased

Mediabox is showcasing the work created for the London-Delhi project, more of which can be seen at the Spectacle website. The training and networking day incorporating Spectacle work is taking place on the 24th March at Oxford House in Bethnal Green.

London – Delhi 2010-2012 Exhibition

Exhibition 5 February – Sun 28th February 2010

Location: Watermans

The London – Delhi 2010 – 2012 Exhibition will be showing at Watermans until the 28th of this month.

London-Delhi 2010-2012 is a digital arts collaboration between artists and young people in London and Delhi, creating and sharing contemporary stories of their two cities.

The research areas that are being explored touch upon large scale structural changes that are happening in Delhi and London, the social worlds that get impacted through these changes and the zones of flux and uncertainty about ways of life that these produce. London-Delhi 2010 -2012 will draw on the different perspectives and transformations of these two cities, each with the eyes of the world upon them, as they prepare to host Delhi 2010 and London 2012.

Learn more about this project:

London – Delhi 2010-2012

Riverfront – Workshop Film

Riverfront – Spectacle’s Film