Rupali Gupte & Prasad Shetty
Rupali Gupte, born in Mumbai, India, in 1974.
Prasad Shetty, born in Mumbai, India, in 1975.
They live and work in Mumbai.
Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty are Mumbai-based urbanists whose backgrounds are in architecture, writing, urban design, and town planning. For more than fifteen years they have engaged in treating Mumbai and cities across the world as an experimental ground to survey conditions of infrastructure, mobility, social history, and testimonies of everyday experience in the civic milieu. Gupte and Shetty continue to be intrigued by what they call the “messy logics and blurred form” that sustains intensifications of life, aspiration, and velocity in the metropolis. Mumbai, which is India’s financial center but also plays host to a massive informal economy, has a population density of around 28,000 people per square kilometer. This sprawling metropolis appears as character and scenography, foreground and background to their urban practice. One of Gupte and Shetty’s previous works, for example, involved a multimedia study of Mumbai’s textile mill lands, which were an essential component of the city landscape since the expansion of the British Empire and industrialization in the nineteenth century, but were shut down in the early 1980s as a result of massive workers’ strikes.
Embarking upon a sentient cartography and grappling with architectural memory, Gupte and Shetty work in drawing, multimedia, publishing, teaching, urban walks, and spatial interventions. In their latest work, Transactional Objects, a set of objects that expose multiple uses and various types of portable architectural spaces are set up in a scenographic manner to engage a web of transactions. As a result, they reveal the city as a place of constant invention as well as a terrain where the mythic, the idiosyncratic, and the everyday become willfully entangled. In the style of the so-called readymades appropriated by the artist Marcel Duchamp in the early twentieth century, these object– spaces resonate with an architectural sociality and are configured within an accompanying publication.