Arjun Mukerji, Sanghamitra Basu


The Hindu religious festival of Durga Puja has emerged as a significant socio-cultural event in the city of Kolkata, India, presenting dynamic urban transformations with instances of transitory architecture in the form of pandals (marquees typically found in India). Borrowing Roland Barthes’ concept of ‘readerly/writerly texts’, this research paper argues that the particular modes of representation employed in the design of pandals involve characteristically ‘readerly texts’ for communicating with the audience, and identifies Gregor Shcneider’s design of the Ekdalia Evergreen Club pandal, 2011, as a point of crisis, which forces the engaged observer to inscribe his own meaning in the face of uncertainty of representational content, giving rise to ‘writerly texts’. In the process, it reflects on how meaning may be inscribed in architecture, both by the architect and the audience, especially in a post-modern milieu.


Crisis in representation, Gregor Schneider, Kolkata Durga Puja, Readerly/writerly text, Roland Barthes, Post-modern architecture and urban design.

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Journal of South Asian Studies
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