Photographs from Bombay: Building the Promised City, © Judith Stenneken
Bombay | Building the Promised City
by Judith Stenneken
”Consider it a blessing to share the same address as God.”
(A Builders’ Advertisement in Bombay)
Fortune Seekers are flooding the megacity Bombay daily from the various provinces. Many of them are living and working at countless large construction sites in the city.
Men standing in glassless windows are swinging reinforcements with a lot of strength from floor to floor upwards. Rhythmical and without mistakes – regular as a clockwork. In huge deep plates the women in colourful saris are carrying the prepared cement to their husbands. The experienced teams of two are working their way from room to room, always with the same pace.
Like cogs of a huge machine it is a perfect and never ending seamless workflow. While a new floor is being prepared on the rooftop, electricians are installing power supply lines on the mid-levels. On the first floor people are moving in and in the grocery stores on the ground floor the workers can already buy the vegetables for their lunches.
In the skeleton construction work site other scenes are taking place, too. Bright children’s voices are permeating the hallways. A girl and two boys are imitating their fathers as they are plastering a future living room. A mother wipes the cement dust of her two kids. A grandmother is cooking for her family of seven on a camping stove.
Until a building is finished the workers and their families are living in it. For security reasons the children hardly ever leave the construction site.
My work is looking beyond the pure documentation of a state for the transient and personal intermediate spaces, which are hidden in every situation and action.