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By: SHIKHA KUMAR
Light is infinite. You don’t notice it unless it hits something,” says Nash D’Souza. But the 35-year-old graphic and web designer based out of Goa, who graduated as an engineer, insists his interest in science is recent. “I don’t know anything about engineering because I mugged my way through my course,” he says.
D’Souza is a part of the core team that has conceptualised The Story of Light, a science festival that will be held in Goa in January next year. The five-day festival brings together a motley group of scientists, philosophers and artists, who will host exhibits, create installations and conduct workshops on the magic of light and other concepts in quantum physics. It is coincidentally timed with the United Nations’s declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Light (IYL).
The festival was conceived by D’Souza, Tanushree Shukla and Jaya Ramchandani, three friends who believe that science intersects with philosophy and culture and is far from “boring”. However, it was initially planned as a children’s exhibition but evolved into a festival, as they wanted to engage with a wider audience.
The festival website, thestoryoflight.org, went live last week and features a host of original and curated content on light — how it has shaped evolution, perception of reality and its role in technology and the universe. Done in vibrant colours and matching graphics, there are articles, pictures and videos suiting each theme.
To debunk myths about science’s perceived boring nature, the articles cover topics such as optical illusions, why glass is transparent, why the sun is worshipped (Suryanamaskar), and why it’s dark at night, besides other interesting installations in the world.
Choosing Goa was a natural option for Shukla. “We’ve hardly encountered any bureaucracy in gaining permissions. January is also peak season time, so we’ll be able to target tourists, students and families,” he says. Having documentary photographer Madhavan PA, of the Goa Center for Alternative Photography, on board helped a great deal in local access, says Shukla, who wants to ensure the event is fun and informational.
The team has already received proposals from artists and scientists in Japan, Holland, Germany and Brazil, to name a few. The artists whose proposals are selected will be displayed at an artist residency in Goa later this year.
The Story of Light will be held across a wide range of venues in Panjim, such as the Kala Academy and the Goa Science Museum from January 14-18, 2015. “How concepts are conveyed and how you get access to them matters. When you mention a science festival to someone, they take two steps back. We want to change that,” says D’Souza.