Unbox Festival 2014: A Homegrown Trail Of This Year's Sublime Offerings

Unbox Festival 2014: A Homegrown Trail Of This Year's Sublime Offerings
Avinash Kumar, co-founder of Unbox Festival.
“I have been working with my partners and team to programme and create the festival,”
“This is usually a four-month exercise for us, which is a pretty short time to come up with UnBox! Consequentially it’s pretty much a madhouse for that time. We are a very small team, so everyone really does multiple things. In my instance, I am neck-deep in creating new networks for the festival, engaging with several artists, researchers and institutions to bring their talent and content to the festival. The success of UnBox is squarely dependent on the mix of participants and audiences we can get together. Since UnBox spreads across contexts, the task of programming is a bit challenging because it forces us to dip into many different networks, all with their own protocols and interests."

I. FOODLab

Food Designer Marie-Vogelzang at Unbox, 2012.
"I feel fortunate to be a part of Unbox festival this year a
s I am getting an opportunity to showcase some of my signature dishes, and also to promote a lot of ingredients from Nagaland
"I'm looking forward to the Unbox festival, and to sharing and exchange ideas, with great anticipation this year."
sarson ka saag
makki ki roti
'food can be an experience in design, colour, technique and constantly invites a rehashing and reinterpretation of ways to make it'
Soumik Datta and his electro-acoustic sarod were one of the star attractions at UnBox 2013.

II. Workshop: Antariksha Sanchar

“This is a transmedia project we have been working on, which actually originated as an UnBox project last time around, and had been produced by Quicksand GamesLab, BLOT! and the internationally renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Jayalakshmi Eshwar,”
‘the evolution of different forms of air travel: from science to mythology, spirit to soul,
“This year, we have a speculative science fiction narrative told through the mediums of a book, a video game, music, artworks and toys. At UnBox, we are preparing an experiential installation of the process of creating this project, and a call for new collaborators,”
The workshops at Unbox are interactive and increasingly inventive.

III. Workshop: Digital Craft 

'inspire and support Unbox attendees in creating interactive textile prints using an amalgamation of traditional block printing techniques, laser engraving and conductive ink'
"Over the last few weeks the dedicated team at Makernow and myself have been experimenting with different digital production techniques and materials to create block prints,"
"This includes 3D printing, laser engraving and cutter/plotting. We have also been doing some simple trails with the conductive ink and the associated ‘touch board’, that allows you to create a wide range of interactions, from playing a series of audio samples when touching various parts of a drawing (in our case a variety of rude noises supplied by my 7 year old) to playing a painted keyboard and using a drawing as a MIDI interface."
Prof. Justin Marshall
"Over the last few weeks the dedicated team at Makernow and myself have been experimenting with different digital production techniques and materials to create block prints. This includes 3D printing, laser engraving and cutter/plotting. We have also been doing some simple trails with the conductive ink and the associated ‘touch board’, that allows you to create a wide range of interactions, from playing a series of audio samples when touching various parts of a drawing (in our case a variety of rude noises supplied by my 7 year old) to playing a painted keyboard and using a drawing as a MIDI interface."
"Making, in one form or another, has always been central to my practice and the thing that makes me most fulfilled," 
"I hope this year, like the Unbox festival I attended 2 years ago, is full of interesting things, people and ideas. I am sure it will be entertaining and stimulating, perhaps challenging, but most important for me, humane in its ethos and atmosphere."

IV. Workshop: Mangala For All

The launch of the Indian spacecraft. Image courtesy - reddit.com

V. Workshop: Kanpur Innovation Lab

Doors of Perception- John Thackara
"I have a particular focus at the festival on the workshop I'm doing with Mansi Gupta, a Kanpur-based leather designer, called the Kanpur Innovation Lab,"
 "This is a half-day session to develop the programme, a live project on the leather-making industry in Kanpur and it will look at different ways to combine clean ways of leather making and connect the people who make these products and people who buy them and use them. 
Mansi is making a short film to introduce some of the people and opportunities in Kanpur, on the skills, people and the culture that we have to draw on. I'm hoping to meet people at the festival who may have special knowledge about tanning, people who will have interesting ideas about direct distribution, between makers and buyers."
"I must say that its the most exciting programme I've had the chance of attending this year. The themes looks terrific like the fusion between the analogue and digital design, the session on informal economy, several sessions on Future Cities. I'm looking forward to people doing crazy things with drones. I'm particularly excited about the workshop with block printers from Rajasthan. UnBox as a whole will be exciting."

VI. Field Trip: Storycity

'intervene, map and invigorate the museums of Delhi through field trips to the National Museum for its Storycity.in project along with museum experts and participants'
Ruchita Madhok, co-founder of Kahani Designworks.
"After consulting with a lot of museums, and carrying out research with different organisations, we found that there isn't a single source to go to find out about museums in the local area, or any centres for art and culture,"
.
"The story city project comes out of the need to create a source like this, where the information is in one place. Through the project, we're trying to interpret what Mumbai's cultural scene is like, and to understand how creative people are influenced by the culture around them. As a part of the first project, the publications were launched to coincide with National Museums Day, while the second project centres on a story-seeker's guide to Mumbai museums, showcasing different stories and experiences to be found in 10 of Mumbai's museums. The soon to be launched third publication is a hand-drawn map, accompanied by 24 stories about the city. 'Storycity Mumbai: Exploring a City by the Sea' has 24 icons, each of which tells you a story about Mumbai's relationship with the sea. Some of these are objects, some are places which can be found in museums, some of them are well-known buildings in Mumbai, and some represent films and books. The aim is to get people to engage with the idea of culture, make it something that they can interpret for themselves." 
"We’re going to be conducting a workshop at Unbox this year,"
 "We’re going to walk over to the National Museum that is located pretty close by to the Unbox venue, and we’re going to introduce people to the different artefacts of Delhi and its history. The second part of this field trip includes viewing histories from own own personal perspective, using hooks like 'I used to go here as a kid..'. This creates an insightful and interesting context, as people bring their own narratives to historical facts and places."
Creating your own cocktail was a popular activity at Unbox 2014.

VII. Showcase: Medicine Corner Bar

'confusing realities of informal and street medicine in India'
"Over the past few months we have been documenting this culture of informal medicine in and around Delhi, and are working towards preparing an arts project from this,"
"At UnBox, we are presenting some aspects of a performance we have been working on, along with curating a panel of experts on affordable health care for India, including folks from some really eminent organizations such as Stanford Bio-Design India, Assitech (IIT) and Dr. Reddy's."
Light Surgeons at Unbox, 2012.

VIII.   Media Magica Shadow Lounge

"Photography is truth,"
"The cinema is truth 24 times per second."

IX. Canta Ostinato & Gwyneth Wentink + Cymatical – Piece for heart and vibrations (PoHV)

Gwyneth Wentink, of Today's Art Network.
"I have been collaborating, as a harpist, with Indian and fusion musicians as Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Kala Ramnath,  Rakesh Chaurasia and George Brooks and I'm dedicated to introducing the harp in Indian music,"
"Bringing styles, genres and disciplines together is something I am passionate about and with Today's Art, which strives to create meeting points for various disciplines and ideas, I feel I can do that."
"Today's Art will present a program at UnBox in which I will perform as well. 'Canto Ostinato Audio Visual' is a performance for harp, electronics and visuals, which I will perform with Wouter Snoei (electronics) and visuals (Arnout Hulskamp). It is an arrangement of Holland's most popular classical music composition "Canto Ostinato" and we have toured with this production all over the world for the last 2 years. This will be our Indian premiere! Another performance which will take place is my "Universla Mediaman Beer van Geer" which presents a performance with heart-rhythm feedback and which include a workshop as well." 
"UnBox is such an innovative and inspiring festival; I am very excited to participate again and be part of the process. My experience is that it is a beautiful gathering of ideas, creative processes and positive solutions. An event where meeting, sharing and listening is the centrepoint of a great learning and celebrating event. It is extra special to collaborate at a festival like UnBox where we can co-produce certain events and work together in a curatorial way. I am looking forward to it!"

X. Crowd DJ

"Tom Laan created Crowd DJ,"
"It's an innovative interactive installation in which the audience and dancers have the responsibility of maintaining the tempo of the music. Each movement of the participant influences the musical outcome."
"But that frenetic energy is part of the UnBox feeling for us, and we hope everyone who comes in will have a sense of that. I think we have managed to get an amazingly talented pool of people this year, and are fortunate that so many folks are bestowing such faith in UnBox. Often, when the team is tired and low on motivation, it is these wonderful people who have somehow given us so much positive energy, time and resources to help build this festival. More than half the people who come to UnBox are participants - speaking, facilitating, hacking, debating - which truly equips the festival with the ammo to construct new ideas at the festival."

Words: Aditi Dharmadhikari 

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