falling:catching, Pondicherry


24 | Image © Matthew Talbot-Kelly


Matthew Talbot Kelly

Architects/Designers Name: Matthew Talbot-Kelly
Project Location: 
Pondicherry, India
Project Year (Completion):
December, 2014
Project Area: approx. 150 Sq.ft.
Built up Area: 
3500 Sq.ft.
Project Type: 
Installation / Landscape
Image Courtesy: 
Matthew Talbot-Kelly

From the desk of Matthew Talbot-Kelly – 

This project was completed last week as part of an art exhibition I did with artist Jacqueline O Rogers in Pondicherry, India.  Our “In Medias Res” exhibition, consisted of paintings, assemblages, a zoetrope made from a rickshaw wheel and axel, experimental films and an interactive art app. In addition to this gallery component, I made an installation (“falling: catching”) in a local sculpture garden. I came to Pondicherry to do a self-initiated artist residency. “falling: catching” was the main focus of my efforts.

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The project was inspired by the fantastic local constructions made from scaffold that are all over India. I also took inspiration from the many decaying buildings in and around Pondicherry – oftentimes revealing the inner brickwork used in both walls and slabs that is characteristic of traditional Tamil construction.


16 | Image © Matthew Talbot-Kelly

Though I am a graduate architect, I have worked in film and new media over the last 15+ years, so movement and time are very much on my mind.

20 | Image © Matthew Talbot-Kelly


“falling: catching” is a semi-improvised architectural installation that uses some of the most ubiquitous of Indian construction materials to create a ‘frozen moment in time’.


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“falling: catching” is a delicately poised system, held by the shifting weight, tension and compression of the interconnected whole.
Bricks and jute-tied scaffolding are arranged as a wall that is seemingly both in the process of tipping over and being ‘caught’. The rows of friction-held interlocking bricks are bound to the scaffold by jute, giving an impression of weaving. There is an aspect of call and response – as it is both specifically prescribed (‘architected’) in advance as well as improvised and crafted on site with the crew.

15 | Image © Matthew Talbot-Kelly

At its most basic, “falling: catching” is simply a wall, sited in a garden. Conventionally, walls separate and delineate space. Walls define borders and property boundaries, they separate the inside from the outside. Oftentimes, walls support beams or floor slabs.

18 | Image © Matthew Talbot-Kelly

Positioned as it is though, crossing diagonally through the garden, this wall is in the wrong place, as it is ‘in the middle of things’, rather than on the periphery.
Though walls may have decorative elements, their primary aspect is that they are upright, vertical, and defy gravity. The upright end of the wall seems to become progressively less wall-like, towards the falling over end. Seemingly, the wall is on its way to becoming another kind of shelter, like a roof or floor slab.

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The piece progresses away from its native verticality, undulating on its way to a new normal. It might be said, this installation is a ‘hacked’ wall. The wall’s length seems incomplete, seemingly its implied action is paused mid-stride.

Is it on its way to horizontality or to collapse?

"A big thank you to Sekar, Ganapathy and crew.” - Matthew Talbot-Kelly


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Matthew has been a digital and analog creator for over 25 years. Since receiving a B. of Arch., MTK’s output spreads from film & TV, to art & installations, from exhibition, graphics & broadcast design, to animation and iOS app creation. 

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