The following drawing is an imagined dystopia of Mysore, a city caught between the past and the future. It is a city of facades, its citizens living their lives within a masquerade, erecting new imitations of its old identity in an effort to keep up the image of grandeur disseminated by the royal family. The palace – the city’s eternal symbol has been fragmented, each neighbourhood lays claim to a piece of its antiquity. The scene depicts the city as a film set, a metaphor for the act that the citizens put on. Nestled in between these fake facades are fragments of the palace, re-appropriated for everyday functions. The city is as complex as it is contradictory, some of its past has been taken over by its present. 

In the present-day Mysore, everything that is new must look like the old. Everything that is old is treated to a new lick of paint and ‘restored’ for a new era. An absurd collage of domes, arched and corniced colonnades, and pediments- an architectural mix-tape. It is hard to describe Mysore as any one kind of city- the grandiose facades hold within and around them neighborhoods with characteristics of their own, each unique in their ordinariness.

The drawing was originally a submission for the RIP.MIX.BURN competition organized by Citylabs India. The competition required participants to take existing parts of a city, rip them apart, and rearrange or ‘mix’ them to re-image the future in the form of a drawing.

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