We are local when it comes to our research subjects. We study the visual culture in our surroundings - recent visual research includes images documenting the bitten apple icon on plastic shopping bags, saris, and clothing. Thereby studying icons and trends in consumerist India's marketplace.
We have an extensive archive of visuals and footage on many commercial vehicles for their vibrant decorative art, painted signboards, matchbox labels, scribble pads, and other visual iconography on popular cultural artifacts for further studies. Our quest is to understand the impulse and power of visual communication, emphasizing how design and culture influence a graphic literacy of images and the communication of ideas within an Indian context of popular culture.
Decoart is our Instagram handle that has recent updates on our encounters with Decorative art on commercial vehicles.
Xavier, Jeevan - Dynamics of Craft and Fashion (unpublished work) 2018
Research Paper presented at the NIFT International Conference New Delhi, India, Feb 2018
The paper presented is a personal account of how the mainstream fashion industry and crafts influence each other in the local-global context.
Ende’ Lorry - Multimedia documentary and research on truck art in Kerala, 2013-2020
We have explored the visual language and the community that it’s rooted in. The study was conducted in 13 towns south of Calicut, Kerala comprising visuals of over 180 trucks and interviews with owners, truck enthusiasts, drivers, and craftsmen. The entire archive is available to everyone upon a written inquiry. Part of the work is available online at this link.
Our fieldwork team includes - The Running Studio and our associate researcher - Rahul Pulavar.
Veedu - Vernacular and Traditional houses in Southern India, 2019
Veedu is an ongoing interactive digital documentation of vernacular residential houses in Southern India that were built a couple of generations ago. The documentary records the architectural elements and the stories of the people who call it ‘home.’
Currently, the documentation work is done in the Kozhikode region of Kerala; we are processing the details and exploring possible software platforms to create an interactive experience.
We are open to collaborations in fieldwork and AR.
Our fieldwork team in Kerala - Pura Design collective.
Kaudhi - Patchwork Quilts from North Karnataka
We explore the many facets of Kaudhi through personal accounts by - Veena Jagdish Patil and the women from her previous generations. The textile object is the starting point for retelling stories of femininity, material culture, and rites of passage.
Namma Signage - Photo documentary of painted signboards
Namma Signage is a photo documentary of painted signboards that are fast disappearing from the visual landscape of most urban areas. The documentation covered the road from Yelahanka – Doddaballapur Highway and Silver Jubilee Road part of City Market in Bangalore. Interviews with two of the artists gave us a glimpse into the people behind this work. The original photographs were taken by Christy Raj in 2013.
Everyday Design Archive
EDA is an archival project listing down ingenious and vernacular everyday objects, products and tools, systems, and rituals - OSR, from the Indian subcontinent for their inherent design value.
It is crowdsourced from friends of JLX Studio and collaborators who are design-thinkers, designers, critics, and other intellectuals. These individuals have picked a few everyday objects or systems, or rituals that they have or had first-hand experience with. Each of them has reasons to nominate anything that they find suitable. This also includes things that have lost their popularity or relevance in the present day.
We at JLX Studio facilitate the process and moderate the content and publishing along with Harshit Srivastava.
Instagram Link - https://www.instagram.com/everyday_design_archive/
Nagal - Collection of litho print posters between 2008-2013.
The artworks are hand-drawn and printed on thin recycled paper with kerosene and ink. One could see these bright posters all over Bangalore until a few years ago.
Pinterest Link -
Stitch by Stitch is an exploration by a Bengaluru quintet that collectivised over our shared longing for the kaudhi. In coming together, we collected many kaudhis, stories, photographs, and experiences that brought us closer to the material and its makers. In the process, some threads were unraveled about ourselves as collectors. As you walk through the exhibits, we invite you to reflect about us and with us - what might we uncover about our yearning for material objects such as the kaudhi ?
We collectors are adept at travel and enquiry and have the technologies to traverse and dig. We use all our excavating tools to parse contexts. There is much laughter and joy in our journeys as we allow ourselves to be nurtured by people and places - good food, warmth, and stories. The touch of fabric tugs on the inside and we know not what we can do but travel and excavate, covet and collect, represent and broadcast through our exhibits.
- Muthatha Ramanathan