Project Y was designed to raise awareness of these issues through a multifaceted approach that included workshops and seminars, as well as a temporary art installation along the river. A key aim of the project, according to Agarwal, was directly connected to placemaking—not in the form of built environment, but in the form of raising awareness. “The project was meant to help situate the river front as a ‘public’ space with its many potential publics, which is ‘ecologically beautiful’ even though the river is polluted.”
The temporary works that stood on the banks of the river for two weeks included a range of objects and experiences: sculptures depicting threatened species, performances by traditional musicians, and a floating vessel constructed from litter. Combined with outreach to area schools and the general public, the artworks had an impact. “The project attracted hundreds of people from all walks of life,” says Agarwal. “Many visited the river for the first time, and were surprised that the river existed in the city at all. Several described the site as ‘beautiful’ and a landscape worth preserving.”
The goal of raising awareness has resulted in tangible consequences, especially for people living in the city who had previously overlooked its river. “The project also had an impact on policy makers,” says Agarwal. The Delhi Development Authority, which has jurisdiction over the site of the art installation, jettisoned large-scale construction in the area in favor of more natural restoration/preservation of the shoreline.
All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.