At The Story of Light Festival (SOL) in Goa, a first-of-its-kind event that will merge scientific concepts with art, artists are busy giving finishing touches to their installations — from glow-in-the-dark pigments to creating awareness about turtle conservation
Abhinav Mishra, who has studied to be an architect, combined forces with Vinay Hasija, an electronics engineering graduate, to explore bioluminescence of deep-sea creatures. “There are organisms that reside so close to the seabed that no light reaches them. Ninety per cent of these creatures emit a light of their own and use it to communicate,” explains Mishra, who first met Hasija while pursuing the New Media design course at National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. A prototype that they created a year-and-a-half ago became a full-fledged interactive installation for SOL.
The duo will use origami and light to represent these creatures in urban landscapes. The origami structures will hang from trees and they will expand and contract if a visitor inches closer. “We’re choosing places that are not well-kept, such as a dilapidated park near Panjim Church. We’ve done this to show that when these creatures come to urban landscapes, they dwell in dark and neglected spaces,” says Mishra.
Many Colours, One World
A doctor by qualification, 55-year-old Subodh Kerkar’s fascination with art began 25 years ago. His visit to a museum in Lisbon, where he experienced the magic of three lights mixing together to form a white light, has inspired his show at the festival.
“That scientific principle became the basis for my installation, Many Colours, One World. It combines different hued lights that make you question the very definition of colour,” says the Goa-based artist. The installation is in the form of a tunnel, constructed with plywood and lit with red, blue and green lights along the way. “When you walk through it, your shadow can be cast in seven different colours depending on where you stand. When another person walking through blocks one of the three main lights, the colour of your shadow will change. The work can be interpreted at different levels and celebrates plurality,” says Kerkar.
Lighting the Way
For over a decade, Divya Karnad has researched and volunteered in the field of sea turtle conservation. One of the studies she conducted was on how lights play a part when baby turtles hatch. “Light at the higher end of the spectrum, emitted by the moon and stars, attracts turtles,” she says, “When nests are relocated during conservation efforts, baby turtles often move towards the land and not the sea. This is because human encroachments use bright lights on beaches.”
Lighting the Way will be an installation built like a maze, where lights of different kinds and intensities will be used to disorient people, giving them a sensory experience of what baby turtles go through after hatching. Waylon D’Souza, a Goa-based designer and NID graduate, lent his technical expertise to the project. “The installation will end with an infographic telling people about solutions to tackle the problem,” says Karnad.
Madhulika S first encountered black lights in the US several years ago, when she visited a blacklight mini golf course. “They have glow-in-the-dark elements where golf balls are swallowed by toy dinosaurs. It was a fascinating experience,” she says. “My installation will look at light through the development of human civilisation. The earliest humans first saw it as fire. Light was later associated with time, with the invention of solar and lunar calendars,” says Madhulika, who uses innovative ways to teach underprivileged children at her non-profit, Adhya Educational Society.
A Spectacle will be a walk-through installation that will use phosphorescent pigments and black lights to explain the rapid shifts in human history. “Our own culture has such in-depth knowledge that has been lost ,” says Madhulika, who discovered that old texts in Telegu have calendars based on light, just like the Mayans did. “The idea of the installation is to stoke critical thinking and make people question everything, including how we take light for granted.”
The Story of Light Festival will be held from January 14-18, across multiple venues in Goa