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>> introduction Driven by action oriented optimism and a hunger for the larger picture, I nourish my role of a critical engager in the world. As an architect/artist/photographer/writer, my cross disciplinary explorations reflect an ever-evolving understanding of value and meaning. Transcending traditional architectural bounds, I reach to images/perception/cognition (visual media), verse/prose (lingual media) and increasingly digitally connected urban geographies (interactive/social media). Exploiting the paradigmatic shifts to inform my tools and processes, I then look to architecture to accommodate communities, their cultures, their perceptions of themselves and their place in the world, in the confluence of thinking, doing and making.

>>ishita sharma play >>


>> education

>> publications/ research

>> work experience

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Voice Columnist/ The Dallas Morning News/ 2010 - present ;%)1'2)-C&%*+'(*"*)-?E4%%>&:*#'&/52*'2*)%&+ *8%.%(5-2%8*.$%5%)*-2#&/8-27*"(.=*"(#$-.%#./(%=*)'#-"&*-))/%)*"28*)#-%2#%

Writer/Photographer/ Columns Magazine/ Dallas, TX/ 2009 - present :RUNLQJZLWKHGLWRULDOERDUGWRJHQHUDWHFRQWHQWDQGWKHPDWLFLGHDVUHVSRQVLEOHIRUWZRIHDWXUHDUWLFOHVSHULVVXH* *

Intern Architect/ Tipton Associates/ Baton Rouge, LA/ 2008

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LSU Office of Community Design & Development/ Baton Rouge, LA/ 2006 - 2008

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>> honors + awards

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>> skillset

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>>ishita sharma architecture | writing | photography | art phone: + (1) 225.288.3379 email: studio@studioish.net web : www.studioish.net

>>


on the raiments of the arcane>>> Independent Research, Photo Essay on the city of Fatehpur at Sikri

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inhabiting the global anonymous >>> HOGI Traveling Fellowship 2010, Dallas Center for Architecture

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urban ecology >>>

Plug Pod City : Re:Vision Dallas Competition >> Dallas, Texas

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treading lightly>>> Louisiana State Visitor Center >> Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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memory >>>

The Sixth Floor Museum Store + Cafe >> Dallas, Texas

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nostalgia & obsolescence >>>

editing & writing

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The Age of Obsolescence (Thesis Intro)

Through the remnants of the mundane

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ctrl+alt+del: Detroit in the age of obsolescence, 2008

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essay on Agnes Vardaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s documentary The Gleaners and I, 2008

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abandonment & decay >>>

written & photographic reflections

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Anarchitecture: design with morality

Homeless in Dallas?

essay on artist Gordon Matta Clark (excerpt), 2008

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CeSRON - Center for Self reflection, Otherness and Narcissism

ctrl+alt+del : Detroit in the Age of Obsolescence >> Detroit, Michigan

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curiosities >>> Living with Water-sinking European Cities Student Traveling Fellowship, AIA Louisiana

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Say Cheese,This is Architecture! Photo-exhibition

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graphic design A commissioned set of posters celebrates the legacy of scientist Nikola Tesla. The minimalist design sought to illuminate Teslaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contributions to the invention of the light-bulb, often attributed entirely to Thomas Edison. The Tesla quote â&#x20AC;&#x153;We begin to think cosmicallyâ&#x20AC;? is placed underneath his working diagram to emphasize his engagement with the bigger picture, and reiterate his contributions as a humanist thinker, far ahead of his time.


photography & writing Why do Texans want to debate evolution?

Notes from the universe

I relish a good debate, even if topics get heated. But even talking about the ethics of cloning or euthanasia with an audience of 2,000 was not be as tumultuous as a recent dinner table discussion when my smiling friend lured me into an argument about evolution.

Last night a friend asked me, “Where is your homeland?” I said nothing, for what could I say? My homeland is not Egypt or Syria or Iraq. My homeland is a place that has never had a name. – Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, “Homelands”

“You really believe we just popped out looking like modern-day humans?” I asked.

I was born in India and used to figure that made me Indian. My parents say I’ve become “too American.” Americans I know say I speak British. None of this matters to me. I’m just a child of the universe, and I’m dealing with it. Like a friend once said: Home is where people love you and where the people you love are. My home is boundless.

Column for Dallas Morning News, 2011

“Yep,” came the reply. And then I got tongue-tied. See, I didn’t know there was a debate on the origin of our species until I came to America from my native India, and then I learned that six out of 10 Americans “don’t believe in evolution.” I’ve had fanatics tell me the world was created in one week and to accept Jesus into my heart or repent in hell forever; I’ve been exposed to superficial attempts at friendship by people who turned out to be recruiting for their churches. I presumed I couldn’t encounter the same beliefs in my social circles. I was wrong. The stigmas and stereotypes Texas needs to overcome are by no means restricted to cowboys riding horses and playing with guns. As a foreigner, an atheist and a person with liberal views, I often find myself having to defend my experiences in America and Texas to those I encounter outside these borders. They ask if it is hard to assimilate into the fabric of this society. And that’s a tough question. I know there is more to Texas than its stereotypes, but those of us who call Texas home are often seen as close-minded Bible-Belters, and we are not helping our case by entertaining the rewriting of textbooks teaching creationism in science classrooms. Of the world’s top 35 developed nations polled by Science magazine, the U.S. ranked 34th in the widespread acceptance of evolution, trailed only by Turkey, the seat of the Caliphate. In the U.S., only 28 percent of biology teachers unequivocally endorse evolution, succumbing to either a lack of proper instruction on the subject themselves or the understandable reluctance to create controversy. Debating evolutionary theory is akin to debating gravitational theory. Both, as central theorems to their respective disciplines, established and accepted unequivocally, are not open to being argued as personal opinion. Modern medicine doesn’t come from “God’s” magical healing or creationary powers any more than humanoids from nothingness. I relish the plurality of creation myths across world cultures, and deem exposure to the same vital to our anthropological understanding. However, that is best done outside science class. The infiltration of religiosity into our classrooms is unlikely to help our institutions and future scientists be recognized as equals on global scientific and intellectual platforms. Who was the last “creationist” or proponent of “intelligent design” to win the Nobel Prize in a scientific field? Unless leading scientific journals are ready to publish papers on these “theories of creationism,” what place do they have in the science classroom? Believing it best to confine theological beliefs to the poetic realms of theology class and topics of debate to the realm of ideas and opinions, for the first time in my life I refused a dialogue. I politely declined my friend’s invitation to debate evolution, which has risen to the level of scientifically tested and fact-based theory. The Dweller (Photographic series, Agra, India)

Ishita Sharma

But I will say this on the subject: Learning that we all share a common ancestor could only inspire compassion and a reverence for life in general — and our own improbable, precarious, precious existences in particular.

Column for Dallas Morning News, 2010

Flying back from London last December, I sat next to an incredibly charming Englishman who easily disarmed me of all my reservations. Our conversation gradually checked off the basics – science, evolution, politics, social welfare – and crossed into more intimate territory: identity and personal life experiences. And right before we landed, after an eight-hour dialogue, he asked me softly, “Why are Indian people so happy?” Usually, when asked to speak for a billion people, I find myself on the defensive, struggling internally to be fair, objective and do justice to us all, given the nature of the question at hand, sometimes opting for humor and other times giving in to my consternation. “All Indians don’t smell! Do I smell like curry to you?” I remember retorting to a friend. There’s more to the country than the Taj Mahal and spicy curry and cows on the streets, I argue. But how does one sum up a subcontinent and thousands of years of living? The confluence of identities and geographies, cultures and countless subcultures? Especially someone who left it in search of different horizons? Which brings me to an experience preceding that flight from London by about a week: I was on a local bus in Delhi making my way to an architecture school on the other side of the city, late as hell, sitting on my half of the tattered seat looking out at the city going by. The bus was crammed full of people, bodies spilling out the doorways, everyone a story with a purpose for the day. As the bus stopped momentarily to lighten its load and my fellow passenger rose to leave, I took the opportunity to readjust my posture. In doing so, I caught the woman in the adjacent row staring at me, so I smiled and said hi. She smiled back, and asked me without pausing for a heartbeat, “Hi. Which country are you from?” “Here,” I said, aghast. “No, which country are you from?” she repeated emphasizing for my benefit, assuming I missed the point. “Here!” I repeated, “India.” In case she missed the point. Now genuinely offended, I took my time to digest what had just happened and avoided her eyes for the rest of my 40-minute ride. Then, just before leaving, I nudged her on my way out and said, “But what does that matter?” And that’s why I turned to Phil on that flight back from London and, refusing the pressure to speak for a billion people, chose instead to speak for the entire species: “Probably the same reasons why people anywhere are happy – a deep sense of security and trust in the world and themselves!” I wonder if it is easier to go west than east. I floated westward with seamless abandon and never understood why everyone kept asking me if I experienced culture shock. People everywhere are the same, I said then, and I still maintain that to this day. It’s just the details that are aberrant.


paint & poetry

Time, Space and I (oil on canvas)

#7 - Chiffon (acrylic on canvas from Seven Grades of Silk series)

Shunyata (acrylic + waterproof inks on wood board)

Chiffon - the beginning of the end

Shunyata (voidness)

the slow darkness I made, hid us well

ahh the splendor of physicality! this spellbound atomic breakdown

me with my reluctance to sit still or hold my tongue so foreign and full of sounds and tales I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t explain Blue #1 (below) + Blue #2 (above, acrylic on canvas)

and you, with your jagged numbers, your bleary dreams and what ifs that I laughingly dismissed my ears pressed to your heart, I strained to hear the pulse of the world, never admitting I feared that I would fracture you in my fervor

Ishita Sharma

simultaneous particulate collision, see I only just came alive consciousness no more than chemical reaction? dimensions wrapped within dimensions existence smiles, experiencing itself as you in me in me in you- I trace my being through the ovals of your eyes past the outermost of orbits and seep again, into the void


photography & writing Before becoming

In defense of the tortoise

Column for Dallas Morning News, 2011

remember, love? the taste of a young winter morning before becoming [remembering] sifting through strangeness of gold weighted air through cotton webs of groggy memorycrisscrossing through power lines my long walks to the convent I carved forgotten trails through glowing foothills little feet swayed by giant imaginings mist on my eager tongue, it seeps through my hungry pores and, now cleanses.

Childhood

Yellow, Digital photograph

The valley in the foothills of the Himalayas was white in the winter and shades of green otherwise. The mango trees that grew along the winding paths bore fruit in the summer when it was hot, and then the hills were the shade of bottle green worn by soldiers of the Border Security Force, who lined the outskirts of the town. The river came down from beyond these hills and ran behind the old stone temple, burying it at high tide and ebbing to expose its water worn walls. And sunlight soaked its waters and drenched the children sifting through the white sand, running barefooted and free. And though the water in the cups of our tiny hands was colorless, the river flowed with blue and green and purple and gold. While we picked smooth rounded pebbles from the shore and threw them back into the river, trying to reach the opposite bank, the river silently deposited its load of starfish and seashells and soft translucent green glass onto our feet, soaking our soiled toes and making them twiddle.

Breakdown, Photo collage Ishita Sharma

There is more to life than increasing its speed.” — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, I caught myself trying to skip ahead of an elderly gentleman as we both approached the door to a lunch stop. I wasn’t consciously trying to beat him to the door, but my instinct was to hurry in and hurry out. Catching myself, I wondered whether the 30 seconds I would save were really worth challenging a 70-year-old, and I slowed down. And that decision allowed me to allow him to hold the door open for me. It was a small pause, so worth taking. I know I’m an accomplice in the perpetual chase of deadlines and superlatives. I’m just not sure how or when I, or we as a civilization, agreed to be ruled by the chase where the ubiquitous motto seems to be “more + bigger + newer + faster = better.” I once saw an advertisement for “fast yoga” on the door of a fitness center. Call me old school Indian, but that reads like an oxymoron. That aside, it seemed to fit with the kind of life we have created here. That dynamic may be at work as you read this newspaper. Scanning constitutes reading to most; we want news stories told in the first two sentences, TV sports formatted to our limited attention spans, movies to get to the point already and clicks to respond instantaneously. We have become so impatient that even flying (you know, soaring above the miles you would otherwise need to walk or drive) seems tedious and prolonged. Where will this mindset collapse? Are we programming an entire society to develop ADD? In a series of interesting studies conducted by Harvard, MIT and National Geographic on longevity and happiness, science confirms what Patanjali knew 2000 years ago, i.e. the physical and mental benefits of meditation and slowing down. Of particular interest to me are molecular biologist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard’s research and explanations of the subject; some have called him the happiest man in the world. He isn’t on the fast track to anything. Stress, it turns out, directly affects your lifespan, shaving those years off the tail end. And, one doesn’t need a study to confirm how stress destroys happinessjust think about how happy you were the last time your heart was palpitating madly, palms sweating, mind racing in panic mode.

The walk to the nearby school was not long, and each morning I would set afoot with a dull sense of haphazardness, crossing clusters of blue berried bushes. I did not mind having to walk, and by the time I arrived at the low lying playgrounds, I was eager to welcome the coming day.

Though it’s nice to see the global slow movement catching on (slowly, at least), it worries me that we live in a time and place where that needs to be codified. Slowing down every day, enough to harness self-awareness and control, is a base ingredient of happiness. And that happens to be the motive behind the entire drama in the first place, right?

The nuns at the convent were tall and wore grey-blue drapes concealing a multitude of curiosities. They wore big silver crosses on black beaded strings; their hands dry for lack of lotion and fingers bony and curt, pointing to sleepy children stumbling through their kindergarten mornings. They held short thin canes out to the soft pointed palms that we obediently offered them on command, aiding their efforts to teach us the discipline they deemed so vital for our years to come. And thus they began to color the empty thought clouds in our heads which held little more than a woolen unfolding of consciousness, and questions safe within the reaches of the the fading of dusk and the songs the Koels sang in the summer shade.

I once heard Amit Goswami, an astute physicist, sum it up best. “Do, be, do, be, do!” he said, eyes gleaming. “You can’t do do do, or be be be.” You just have to balance your inner tortoise and hare.


urban photography

Again and Again, London

Vermeer Would See, New Orleans Ishita Sharma

NYNY, New York (Photo collage)

Plaid, Dallas

Andolan (revolution), New Delhi

Before Sunrise, Tskuiji (Tokyo)

PLAY!  

Play is my idea of fun! It is a collection of multidisciplinary pursuits in architecture, art, photography and writing. It includes academi...

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