In a discussion among colleagues we were wondering who is the potential audience for new architectural studies in India. Some of the responses revolved around the maximum reach of the study, its capacity to influence and hence change a large group of audience -presumably towards making them better architects and thinkers.
I was reminded of an anecdotal incidence, by this discussion, that some of us were part of along with some students from our school in Assam. We were visiting a very interesting city called Sviasagar along with some students to carry out a measure drawing exercise of the wonderful and sublime religious, palatial and burial complexes in and around the city. Sivasagar was the capital of one of the largest tribal dynasties in India called Ahoms.
In one of the site visits to a monument called Talatal Ghar we were discussing with students the history of this monument, what we knew from the secondary source, underneath a massive plinth constructed as a series of deep vaults. We were gathered inside one such vault. Just besides us there was a team of masons engrossed in mixing a slurry of various materials for the restoration process. We were told later that the masons are trained in mixing materials used during the Ahom period as closely as possible to carry out the restoration process -lime, red oxide, sand and so on. The masons were not even bothered by our presence or by our discussions.
It made me wonder who are we really discussing this for? or ‘who is the audience?’ This event has lingered in my mind for quite sometime now. I think only recently I understand the answer to this question. It does not matter if ‘everybody’ is listening or a ‘targeted’ audience is listening / reading. What matters is that there were some questions and curiosities that triggered our studies and our search, we have formed a bond with those questions and studies not everyone else. In most likeliness audiences will be found in the most unlikely of places -with a possibility that there might be no audience at all. But that is not our look out. Our look out is to put together the study in the best possible way and make the work such that is worth the while of who ever the audience may be.