The theme of the biennale is ‘Imminent Commons’, where cities look at ‘commons’ (community resources) and the way natural resources are shared.
Chennai Pavilion, titled ‘At Cross Rivers – Reconnecting Chennai’, looks at the city’s tryst with water. This is presented at the iconic Dongdaemun Design Plaza from September 1 to November 5.
Curator Raghuram Avula said anyone who walks into the pavilion will get acquainted with Chennai, through the city’s growth and the cost it involved, with a historical perspective. “For example, animated films show how large lakes were turned into built-up area,” said the architect.
Through archival images and rare maps, the team from Anna University brought alive the Cooum restoration process, while studying the benefits to the city if restored. “We also took a portion of the river to study the population density, green cover and other such parameters. A panel titled ‘Inclusion’ emerged from this, where Cooum acts as a bridge between different groups. In Aminjikarai and Anna Nagar, we came across two different socio-economic zones and the river can form a social bridge as people de-stress at the riverfront,” said Raghuram, adding that the team interacted with Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust (CRRT), a nodal agency for Cooum restoration.
Seoul would also get a whiff of Chennai’s gastronomy, thanks to a special south Indian ‘Thali’ restaurant set up at the Urban Foodshed section.
Dr Rathi Jafer, Director, InKo Centre, which presented the pavilion, said that a south Indian vegetarian thali resembled the Korean baekban, a meal featuring a variety of small dishes around a bowl of rice.
“A team from Eden restaurant has been working to produce a composite meal around rice, from locally available seasonal ingredients. This is to look at food traditions and bring back the focus on indigenous methods and food traditions,” said Dr Rathi, adding that they hope to showcase the ‘Chennai Pavilion’ here, after the biennale ends.