Shifting Grounds: Urbanism in the Yamuna Riverbed
Delhi, India | 2012
The Yamuna River, a Ganges tributary that runs through Delhi, has over the course of its history slowly shifted eastward. Constable's Hand Atlas of India shows the river in 1893 flowing directly east of Shahjahanabad, also known as Old Delhi. Present-day satellite imagery shows the river peeling away from the Old Delhi walled edge, leaving a highly fertile strip of land in its wake.
The zone of interest for Shifting Grounds is the fertile land left behind by the river, where multiple urban morphologies coexist.
This ongoing project is in the documentary phase, consisting of assembled panoramas from different vantage points on the site. The functions of the panoramas is two-fold: to display the immense diversity of conditions in this unique space, and to highlight montage as a critical representational tool of landscape. The wide angles and horizontal skew suggest that typical photographic framing is not adequate to capture the complexities of these conditions.
AWARDS Penny White Travel Award, Harvard Graduate School of Design (2012)
Old Delhi in 1893 (left); present-day satellite imagery (center); zone of interest (right)
Google Earth satellite image showing active agricultural plots adjacent to the Yamuna River. Grouping of huts can be seen at intervals. Although this site is in the heart of Delhi, it displays built formations and landscape processes typically found in remote rural areas.
Selected assembled panoramas are below. Photos: Aneesha Dharwadker