We Are Here, designed by Archana Prasad and Vera Maeder, is an experiential journey into the city. Its objective is to make you become aware of your city

Imagine a scenario in which you are out on the streets, not on work or to meet friends, but to experience the city. Archana Prasad, founder and co-director of Jaaga and Vera Maeder, German choreographer and director of Hello! Earth, has created a virtual project titled, We Are Here. The project is an experiential journey into the city. It is an interactive performance that is also a social experiment — which involves a series of laboratories — that will be shared in a site specific participatory intervention at the Urban Mela, to be held this month.

“We travel by car or bus and spend most of our time at the workplace and at home. This project will motivate people to walk around and experience the city,” says Archana, a graduate of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

“The project explores the relation between virtual and physical presence and its influence on collective, community and place within cities,” explains Archana. Intensive research has gone into the project, which has also seen the participation of Indian artists with backgrounds in journalism, dance, multimedia, design and visual arts and technology.”

Vera contends We Are Here has an element of choreography in it as “it is a guided action”. The viewer has to call a number and artists will guide him or her through a designated neighbourhood. But the artists will not judge for the viewer; he or she has to draw their own conclusions from their experience.

Every city has a character to it. Bangalore has been considered variously as a Pensioner’s Paradise, Garden and IT city. But every Bangalorean engages differently with the city. Contemporary Indian artist Archana Prasad, over the last few years, has been working to develop an aesthetic perception of the city. Her medium of expression are digital tech and video. Archana agrees that Bangalore is experienced according to an individual’s perspective. “We had in fact put up a questionnaire on Facebook that asked what Bangalore means to them. Some wrote of how they identify the city’s green cover while others associated the city with sparrows.”

When asked how she finds a common thread between technology and art, Archana says she does not find the two disparate.

Vera’s organisation Hello! Earth urges residents “to experience, sense and do rather than sit and see”. The tools Vera works with to achieve this are theatre and movement-based performances for the stage, installations and a combination of these.

Vera says that Bangalore is an orderly city, but that there need to be more spaces where residents can walk and congregate.

Urban Mela will be held at the Palace Grounds from June 22 to July 1, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Palace Grounds. To register for We Are Here call 7676810088. For more details visit http://we-are-here.in/.