Yantra 6.0 Art-Tech Exhibition Details
- BACKGROUND, CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVES
Fusion on Cultural Exchange has played a heightened role in Nepali life since the early 2000’s. In Yantra 6.0, our Art, Tech and Science festival, we seek to explore Fusion of Cultural Exchange in the context of Mithila art and increased technology use in Nepal.
Cultural Transfer & promotion of Nepal Tradition
Nepal is rich in culture. Nepal’s culture consists of the social customs and traditions. Nepal has a unique culture, in short, is a country where art, culture and religion are a part of life of the inhabitants. People celebrate every moment with aroma, adding novelty to the traditions without affecting their essence.
This year we are focusing on story how the culture of Deuso and bhailo started in Nepal, how it is making impact in Nepal’s tradition through the foundation it has built since last centuries.
Culture transfer program is targeted to anyone who has a keen interest in Nepali culture. Knowledge of your culture and an interest in and respect for local cultural practises is important. Visitors will gain cross-cultural experience through this program.
Artists, Technologists and Society
Nepalese artists, who are often strongly political and partisan, have been deeply engaged in creating works on social-political issues. This is evident in works by senior artists as well as emerging artists of the scene. In “Kathmandu triennale” a recently concluded show, every single work was dedicated to a socio-political cause: migrant labor, feminism, loss of cultural identity, environmental degradation, pollution etc.
Yet almost no works explored technology and its obvious impact on Nepali culture. Even when it is depicted, the content is superficial (a common imagery that has been seen over the past few years has been paintings of Nepalese men/women in traditional attire using mobile phones, headphones etc.). This is because artists have a limited understanding of technology and the practices of technologists. A conservative academia also has become a serious impediment to integration of interdisciplinary approaches in producing art.
Nepali technologists, on the other hand, are educated in a system that grows out of the “development” mindset. The curriculum they study is designed to give them the technical skills necessary to make “progress”. The nature of this “progress” is never explicitly articulated in the education but one need not dig too deep to see that roads, energy production, connectivity and factories are what is implied. This version of progress is not in-and-of itself problematic. What is problematic, however, is that our technologists are taught to approach their work from a lens of inadequacy. Implicit in their practice is a sense that, what exists in their society is inferior and their practices, which are imported whole from the developed world, will create something superior. Thus they pay little attention to existing systems and cultural norms as part of their work.
We want to start a conversation between artists and technologists so that they can bring to their practices a deep understanding of how the other works and creates. As Nepal’s technologists architect new modes of living for the ever increasing number of people who come into the realm of technology i.e. our cities and towns, it is important for us to provoke our technologists to reflect. We think an interaction with artists who are trained in technological practices is the best means to bringing about this reflection, and narrowing it down to a specific, critical yet ignored societal issue would produce a meaningful dialogue.
Yantra 6.0 is the medium of this conversation, between these ‘neighbors’ that barely speak each other’s’ language. We are amalgamating three separate events: a robotics competition, an art/tech residency and exhibition, a machine learning, design thinking competition under a single banner. And creating connections between each of the events to encourage cross-pollination. Additionally, to encourage geographical diversity we will conduct a mini-version of the robotics competition and art exhibit in 4 other urban areas in Nepal and appoint regional ambassadors who can locally present on the progress and results of this year’s Yantra programming.
Yantra 6.0 is designed with the following objectives:
– provide unprecedented opportunities to research on the coalescence of art and technology (for academicians, artists, engineers, students, art managers, visual arts institutions).
– start a conversation between tech/art communities through an innovative residency program.
– engage a wide audience through interactive art exhibits, talk series and relevant programming.
– give artists tech tools/practices they can integrate into their artistry and provide techies overview of aesthetic elements that often make technology more integratable and accessible.
– increase sensitivity of technologists to the socio-cultural implications of their work.
– expose artists and techie to ideas and information that is not part of their academic training.
– create a model for how interdisciplinary residencies can be run (targeted to residency spaces currently running in Nepal)
– build structure to strengthen alliances between key organizations in the art/tech communities, while laying the foundations for future collaborations through annual programs.
To achieve these objectives we will carry out the following activities:
1. Conduct a orientation: to create art/tech pieces for an exhibition based on the theme of “Fusion on Culture” as well as to create a forum where artists and technologists can reflect on their collaboration in-front 7of their peers and relevant institutions.
2. Organize a Art/Tech exhibit: as an avenue for artists to speak with technology, for technologists to realize that their tools have a vocabulary beyond their current use and for an audience to be challenged on relevant issues through interdisciplinary innovations.
Art- Tech Exhibition (December 9 – December 14)
A press meet will be held on December 9th to announce the opening of the exhibition, the Yantra Robotics Competition and to share the achievements of the innovative residency with members of the press.
Altogether 10 exhibits will be showcased at the Yantra Exhibition (December 9th till December 14th) at the Nepal Communitere, Pulchowk. An opening ceremony will be held at the NC to officially inaugurate the exhibition. During the period of the exhibition, guided tours will be offered by Yantra’s volunteers. The exhibition venue will also be used for talk programs included with the larger Yantra Festival. A closing ceremony will be held as well.
After the exhibition the exhibits will be stored by RAN and arrangements will be made to have them exhibited at the annual showcase, engineering campuses in Kathmandu, other visual arts institutions and Yantra 6.0’s regional events.
Robotics Association of Nepal : Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN) is a non-profit association that provides an outstanding platform for students and tech enthusiasts all over Nepal. RAN seeks to promote, educate, and get more Nepalis to explore the field of robotics. RAN has been organizing annual national level robotics competition for the last 3 years. Leading up to the event it provides knowledge of programming and electronics through robotics workshops. These workshops are targeted at college and high school students.
Janakpur Art Centre, Sankhamul, Lalitpur.
The regional Mini-Yantra events will each bring in a 1000 visitors with 50 participants in the competition section. The main robotics competition in Kathmandu (main event) will have a 200 participants and cater to 3000+ visitors over two days of the competition. The exhibition is expected to draw an audience of 10,000 people over its 7-day run. RAN will work with the Private and Boarding School’s Organization to offer guided tours of the exhibits for at least 20 schools (grade 6-10).
Below are the expected outcomes of Yantra 6.0’s Art/Tech Residency and Exhibition
– 2 unique art/tech exhibits produced by artists in collaboration with engineers
– 8 other individual exhibits produced through partner institutions.
– Expose artists/engineers to interdisciplinary practices/material that is not offered in their academic training
But, the most important outcomes of this event will be establishing one precedent and one coalition:
Precedent: Having tech institutions support an art event and have an art foundation support a tech event opens the door to new realm of possibilities.
Coalition: We want to add at least at least 2 more organizations, one tech and one art, to our core organizing team for Yantra 7.0 in 2018.