Are you watching closely?

All the positive experiences of internship aside, there is a certain amount of specificity which I believe it breeds into you. I don’t mean this to say we’ve all turned 100% objective; but if even in the craziest of “architecture fantasies” (if that’s even a thing) you end up focusing just on the physicality, I saw a problem.

Which is why I was looking forward to the Urban Design studio of the 9th semester. We were introduced to a small exercise, for kind of getting our feet wet before jumping in straight:

Pick any human emotion, then click a picture of an urban space in Chennai depicting it. 

The condition being, of course, that people or a single person being the focus of the picture to depict the emotion should be avoided.

As a class, we were  pretty excited to be part of an exercise which had almost a basic design-esque feel to it. But of course, reading emotions from, or ascribing emotions to a living, thriving (in most cases) space was a much more layered exercise.

Here are a few samples from our submissions : (click on ‘Continue Reading’ to view entire post, it is image heavy)

wonder eccentric

confusionDepression Determination Euphoria excitement Fear gluttony jealousy lust peace Solitude tired trust


Beauty or artistry of the photographs aside, I think this exercise was useful in one important aspect : Usually describing experiential or emotional aspects of a design in all two dimensional media had been a paradox for me. You were still essentially imagining and ascribing intangible elements to a very objective setting. Approaching this from the other end, here instead we had to filter through the enormous social and emotional implications of a live space – and choose to paint it with a particular emotional brush. 


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