PrayogIllu is my ancestral house in Vellulla village, Telanagna state, India and it is artistically conceptualized as a site-specific, interdisciplinary, and alternate place for experimentation in rural-global connection, as well as community building. It aims to blur and reconfigure both social engagement in the rural world, and rural and global cultures. PrayogIllu is a combination of two words: ‘Prayog’ is a hindi word that means ‘experiment’, and ‘Illu’ is a telugu word that means ‘house’. PrayogIllu is an interdisciplinary place that fosters engagement with students and villagers in a rural area with various programs like community library, virtual lectures, video screening, digital literacy, experiential learning, foreign languages, group games, arts, artist in residency, artists and community, women empowerment programs and lectures, sports, and competitions.
This project began on October 2nd, 2021, when the doors of Prayog opened for the first time to families and children from Vellulla and the surrounding villages. The small village of Vellulla, population 6,831 people, is surrounded by small hills and smaller villages. The people of Vellulla are farmers who grow rice, corn and sugar cane, carpenters, potter, charkha, and goldsmith. There is one public school that serves Vellulla’s children and the children of the surrounding villages. Vellulla celebrates cultural festivals every year where the entire village gathers at one place. Generative social gatherings featuring emotionally charged connection with others is a regular life practice. This collaborative social connection is something Vellulla can offer the rest of the world when they are connected through remote Prayogillu reading rooms.
There are several modes of community engagement happening at PrayogIllu that began on October 2nd, 2021. Firstly, the local rural community experiences PrayogIllu as a reading room, or a place for experiential and/or virtual learning. Secondly, PrayogIllu is a space for socialization and social engagement with rural and global communities through artist in residence programs. Thirdly, PrayogIllu is an interdisciplinary place that fosters engagement with students and villagers in a rural area and uses technology to connect them to global communities. PrayogIllu invites scholars, educators, various scientists, artists, artisans, and motivational speakers to share their expertise and provide the rural communities with wider knowledge about global cultures. Some of the programs happening at PrayogIllu are a community library, virtual lectures, video screening, digital literacy, experiential learning, foreign languages (German & English), yoga, dance, group games, arts, artist in residence, artists and community, women empowerment lectures, sports, and competitions.