Capital or the erosion of the social farbric of the city

This is the second book i have read this year that has the words ‘capital’ and ’21st century’ in its title. While this smells a lot like free-riding on the popularity of the other book, it is not [1]. Capital by Rana Dasgupta chronicles the last one-and-a-half decades of the Indian capital Delhi. It is a mix between encounters (not in the indian sense of the word) with (moneyed) inhabitants of Delhi, snippets of history and more abstract reflections on the city in an globalized world. It is a f…

Delhi metro now moving more people per day than the entire Dutch national railways

This was mentioned in passing in an item on carbon trading that ran in today’s NOS evening news: the delhi metro is now transporting more passengers per day than the dutch national railways. a quick check on wikipedia shows that this is a bit of an understatement: daily ridership of the delhi metro system is 1.8M passengers per day while the NS is moving a mere 1.1M passengers per day (and struggling to do so i might add). This figure pretty much blows my mind in a number of ways. while there h…

Parallel infrastructures #3 (Torino revisited)

Have been spending the last 2 days in Torino for a succession of workshops and conferences, and have used my spare time to revisit some of the places that here we had planned to install the expertbase during the big torino biennial back in 2002 (before we were kicked out of the exhibition). Seems that those parts of the city that we were working in have remained relatively unchanged by the construction madness caused by the 2008 winter games. However it appears that there has been a change among…

Dark fibre

In march we spend a week in bangalore with jamie and the darkfibre crew. we had flown there to take pictures of them while they were shooting for dark fibre (more pictures will become available later). Dark fibre crew at work on the rooftop terrace of a IT office building in South Bangalore It was fun and extremely interesting to watch the production from behind the scenes and i am really looking forward to the film (jamie has promised that there will be a trailer on the 13th of may). i…

Activism as a Non-Tariff Barrier to International Trade?

Patrice has posted an extensvie piece to the nettime-l mailing list that describes a rather bizarre legal dispute between an Indian textile manufacturing company and two Dutch internet service providers (one of them being my own). It comes down to the Indian company arguing that hosting websites that criticize labor conditions in their manufacturing plants constitutes an ‘international criminal conspiracy’: Now eight Dutch citizens, staff persons and directors of the [ISPs], are indicted and req…

Kaafila (liquid Europe and solid sea revisited)

So over the last three weeks i have been watching ‘kaafila‘ which bills itself as a movie based on the ‘global issue of illegal migration’. It took me 3 weeks to watch because (a) it is a Bollywood movie (and thus runs for three plus hours) and (b) because it is so incredibly bad that i could not muster the courage to watch bits that were longer than 15 minutes. Matter of fact it is so bad that that the songs (those ridiculous dancing/singing scenes that are required to interrupt Bollywood produ…

Where do the cickpeas come from?

So one of the things which are really nice about being in the middle east is that you have hummos all the time. I mean at least three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You wont hear me complain. So yesterday night one the way back from dinner i suddenly wondered where all the chickpeas (which are the basis of hummos) come from. One would imagine that there would be chickpea fields or plantations all over the middle east but i have never really noticed any. Turns out nobody in our par…

Phantom menace

Lawrence gave a pretty amazing presentation on ‘what can be learned from asian cinema?‘ at piratecinema on sunday morning. His general point was how new forms of distribution (read shameless copying) slowly lead to another form of aesthetic/cinematorgaphic practice in Asia (or to be less general China & India). towards the end he showed a couple of slides form an earlier presentation he had given at the Asia commons conference in Bangkok last year. I really liked this diagram, which gives a…

Pictures from Bombay cinema halls

Sarai independent fellow Zubin Pastakiais talking pictures of old-style Bombay cinema halls, and has started posting them to his blog: I am currently photographing cinema halls in Bombay, India, the city in which I live. Here, we still have a mix of older, single-screen halls, and modern multiplexes. I am fascinated by the cinema hall – from its built architecture and physical surfaces to the people that come to watch films and the people that work there. The project seeks to photographically ex…