THE BAMBOO WALKWAY
Paolo Rosso & William West
In 2011 Microclima began The Guwahati Bamboo Walkway, an on-going intervention that is a continuing part of this residency.
The walkway is placed on the opposite side of the mighty Brahamaputra river, in an area called ‘North Guwahati’. Here it overlooks the beautiful landscape, functioning as a place of contemplation, and provides the local people with a shared space in order to transform a unused site into a public area. Although the area is not yet as polluted as the city, constant industrialization further north and uncontrolled development is threatening to change this. In practical terms the Guwahati Bamboo Walkway functions as a means to arrive at the ferry terminal of North Guwahati from the village of Anandanager. A constant flux of commuters pass through the village of Guwahati, making their way to and from the ferry terminals that line the shore. This means that it is considered more as a commuter town rather than as somewhere to linger. A pity, since the site is not only of natural beauty, but replete with archeological remains dating from as early as the twelfth century that at the moment are relatively uncared for and unappreciated. This identity of a commuter town to some extent conditions the vision of Guwahati, and through the building of the bamboo walkway we hope that it might be considered somewhat differently.
The construction of the walkway has so far been achieved with the help of three craftsman from Majuli, an Island 300 km from Guwahati. They utilize antique techniques that are dying out in the metropolitan area, working in a way that is devoted to accentuating their traditional workmanship. The villagers themselves, both young and old, worked with us to build the first part of the bamboo walkway as a collaborative effort and we continue to work with them. Although the idea of the walkway was conceived in 2011 and construction of the first 100 meters started in 2015, it does not have a set date for completion. This is because the Guwahati Bamboo Walkway project refers not only to the actual walkway itself, but all cultural and social events that are inspired by it as a continuing artistic endeavour.
The Walkway is now 400 meters long.
The Bamboo walkway is dedicated to Ajoy Barman. The day August 31, 2015 he disappeared in the waters of Brahamaputra which was experiencing a wave of extraordinary flood. Ajoy Barman was the most enthusiast collaborator of the Bamboo walkway; he embodies the spirit of the initiative. He showed unique energy and purity, demonstrating exceptional dedication and seriousness at the young age of 16 years.