Society and Analysis
This project will be exhibited at Design Degree Show 2015, 13th to 17th June.
Visual Ethnography of a Shopping Mall
Th project started out with a general observation, a hypotheses that maybe shopping malls have become centres for social connectivity. Connectivity would mean engagements in which paths cross, influence lives and possibly change them. After spending time at mall, most of this was observed to be true.
Malls have achieved what they set out to do: be the hub of all modern urban activities. Activities that have general crowd participating in it. Malls satisfy the aspirational values of the average person in terms of services, products, etc, to simplify, just make people feel special. Many a times, shopping is just an excuse to take out time and reconnect in an environment that is relaxed and offers all services from food to washrooms, to gardens (and even a spa for your car!) In the process, the visitors touch many lives, beyond just their own circle- the rickshaw wallah who ferries them to the mall, the car parking attendant in the basement, the polite shop attendant, the silent cleaner.
The visual ethnography process involved exhaustive documentation of Viviana Mall in Thane, with the help of tools as digital cameras, cellphone cameras and rapid sketching. People across the strata were spoken to, including mall managers, staff, visitors, etc. The crowd attitudes were gauged by observing them on weekdays, weekends, festive season, from early mornings to late night. It was observed how their aspirations are manifested visually through various choices, shopping patterns, social groups and so on.
The mall is no walk in a garden, but it can be safely concluded that, today, no other place is as convenient as a mall to spend some time with your preferred people in urban areas.