Broadway producer David Binder in his TED talk on ‘The Arts Festival Revolution’ says that at contemporary festivals, “the audience is a player, a protagonist, a partner, rather than a passive spectator, and they’re open because they know that imagination cannot be contained in buildings, and so much of the work done is site-specific or outdoors.” This is where the UnBox Festival 2014 train is headed, allowing passengers from different fields to mingle, and flavours of the world, plated in bite-size pieces.
From December 12 to 14 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the festival with its tagline ‘All Together Now’, is a call to action, to create new ideas and projects for the coming year, says one the co-partners of the festival Avinash Kumar of Quicksand. “We are constantly reminding participants and ourselves that we are not in search of a perfect showcase, but an exploration of how people work and build things together,” he says.
The buildup to the festival began in February this year, when Unbox Labs collaborated with the British Council and the Arts & Humanities Research Council, UK on the theme ‘Future Cities’. It brought together 35 designers, researchers and artists together from India and the UK, who explored topics as diverse as sound pollution, livelihoods, speculative science fiction and street art.
One of the primary challenges of such a multi-contextual exercise is “achieving enough breadth and depth in the programming. Most disciplines, especially the more traditional sectors such as sanitation, banking, healthcare and education, often exist in silos with their own autonomous networks and ecosystems. The process of such collaborations is of course very laborious, and involves a lot of matchmaking between potential participants, institutions and projects,” says Kumar.
Currently, the organisers are flexing their muscles with 30 workshops, 10 talks, 10 exhibitions, 5 labs, and hosting participants from across, including the UK, Netherlands, Japan, Germany, India and Pakistan, while over 25 volunteers potter about.
UnBox Festival 2014 is on from December 12 to 14 at IGNCA. To register, visit www.unboxfestival.com