Belly of the Strange

Rupali Gupte, Prasad Shetty, 2018, shown at MACBA Barcelona, at the exhibition. ‘In The Open and In Stealth’ curated by the Raqs Media Collective

‘Belly of the strange’ is a transactional space with transactional capacities, meant to house books that take us into the wondrous world of stories and illustrations for children and the child in us.

Transactional capacities are abilities of (urban) form to hold and encourage multiple activities within them. But also to facilitate kinship relationships, security, care etc. There are many of these in our cities. Our ongoing work ‘transactional objects’ are about speculations on the next step that these transactional objects that we study would take. In doing so transactional objects draw on the functional but also the imaginary.

Belly of the strange as a transactional object makes it possible for us to huddle together and read. It draws on various associations of strangely familiar objects; a cave, a fruit, a vegetable, a large belly, asking the child, as one of the books in the library asks, what may I be? Drawing on a feminine form in a otherwise hard edged masculinist architectural world, the pudgy belly feels like it is growing within the gallery. As you inhabit the pulpy interior you are transported to imaginary worlds that books take us into. The soft, poky interior holds the books and grips the reader.