If you were milling about Church Street over the weekend, chances are you would have had a glimpse of a three-wheeled vehicle standing under overlapping arcs of green foliage.
Created by Bengaluru-based artist Rahul KP (also known as Mechanimal) in collaboration with Mumbai-based artists Radhika and Madhvi of Workshop Q, the interactive installation was a solar-assisted electric vehicle installation made from upcycled material.
The installation was created as a part of #EVMyDelivery under the Bengaluru Moving initiative to provoke thought on the journey of delivery packages — a phenomenon that has seen a significant boom since the lockdown.
However, the idea was not to discourage customers from online purchases. According to Navdha Malhotra, a campaigner with Bengaluru Moving, young millennials are conscious about their consumption habits and the choices they make. “Research shows two- and three-wheelers used in delivery are major contributors of carbon emission in the city today. Consumers can engage with their favourite brands and make a case for a transition to EVs for this purpose.”
Bengaluru Moving, an initiative by Purpose Climate Lab, hopes to hasten the switch from fuel-based to electric delivery vehicles.
Navdha adds that while bigger brands are making a conscious effort in this regard, any buzz generated was focused on hyperlocal delivery agents, which in turn would have a ripple effect on fleet operators and other stakeholders, eventually leading to a change in government policies. “We believe in using arts and culture to meet people where they are, especially since climate change is seen as a scientific, technical issue,” she says.
The installation was built in collaboration with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport and Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation. Along with Autoguru and Bengaluru Design Week, the purpose of the event was to highlight the issue of making last mile delivery as green as possible.
To this end, artist Rahul KP conceptualised an EV built out of scrap. “Purpose Climate Lab got in touch with me to make this installation with the other artists. We collaborated and came up with the design; our initial plan was to fashion a two-wheeler, but then we upgraded to a three-wheeler to make it more interesting,” says Rahul, who has been creating sculptures out of waste for the past 10 years.
The trio crafted the EV using the chassis and wheels of old bikes and placed it under green arches to create a sense of ‘being in a terrarium’, says Rahul. “We wanted to present a self-sustaining system within a closed space. In a terrarium, moisture from the plant keeps the soil watered. Similarly, we wanted to create a self-standing piece powered by itself.”
The installation also had a counter to register footfall as well as a gift dispenser in the carriage unit which was connected to the accelerator. Needless to say, the display garnered a lot of interest among curious passers by.
The EV art installation has since been dismantled, but, “It’s been designed in a way that will see it come up again in a different city,” says Navdha.