Dharavi Goes to Paraisopolis

Our street exhibition in Brazil mashes up landscapes from Dharavi and Paraisopolis leading residents to guess which part of the image is their neighbourhood. 

Our obsession with mixing and merging urban landscapes and histories just moved to another level. We decided to let go of photoshopping for a bit and actually take a piece of Mumbai to Sao Paulo.

As part of the Sao Paulo Calling Exhibition curated by Architect Stefano Boeri and organized by the Secretariat de Habitaçao de Sao Paulo, images from Dharavi (Mumbai) became a part of the streetscape of Paraisopolis (Sao Paulo).

Residents of Paraisopolis chose pictures that appealed to them and in some ways corroborated their life, location or scenario across these two neighbourhoods that exist on either side of the globe.

Residents will exhibit them in their homes, shops, streets so that passers by can get a glimpse of the neighbourhood that is both so far away and astonishingly close in spirit. This live mashup continues to do what our mashed-up images always did – reveal connections across cities, to show they often emerge from similar impulses. From street vendors, to retailers, from residents to travelers, the neighbourhoods of Paraisopolis and Dharavi share as much in common as their distinct histories allow.

Together they represent the default mode in which the world is urbanizing when it is not being tamed by master planners and real estate developers. As we have shown in previous mashups there is no reason to view locally driven urban development as illegitimate. In fact, it is the acceptance of these local dynamics that have produced the celebrated heritage fabric of Italian old towns and the futurist urbanscapes of Tokyo’s suburbs.

That look of surprise and recognition, when people from Paraisopolis first saw the Dharavi images transformed into powerful gestures of solidarity as they lovingly chose their preferred image and stuck it firmly inside their worlds.

It was like a warm heartfelt handshake across thousands of miles.

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