Bridging digital realities between the moon and any city

Smarter Digital Realities is a project by Bengaluru-based Sandbox Collective in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan. Curated by Padmini Ray Murray, it is a virtual exhibition where over 21 artists have depicted their vision of the impact of technology on cities, through music, dance, storytelling, film and other media.

According to the curator, the exhibition is centred around people’s relationship with a city as mediated through technology. “Technology has had a tremendous impact on our working lives, our relationships, socio-economic realities, politics and so on. For this exhibition, we wanted to have a variety of artists who would respond to the topic in different ways.”

Padmini says it was a conscious decision not to restrict entries to those involved in new media or digital art. “We wanted people — from any practice or space — to express their relationship with technology or their perception of a relationship with technology, through their own artistic practice. As a result, the entries for the show have been created by lawyers, filmmakers, dancers, illustrators and others. Many of the participants are not artists by profession; the exhibition was basically an opportunity for them to create an artistic response.”

Since the Goethe-Institut wanted the exhibition to be an inter-city event, works from Mumbai, Pune and Dhaka, as well as Bengaluru, are a part of Smarter Digital Realities.“While Indian cities are different from each other, the inclusion of Dhaka added a different inflection to the show with its distinct culture, historical emergence and its relationship to technology because of its population and demographic spread.”

Bridging digital realities between the moon and any city

With works of 21 artists supporting various media on display, the time one spends in this virtual space is left to individual choice. Visitors to the exhibition can view the entire show or just those artists or works that catch their fancy on the interactive site.

The 3D space has been engineered for ease of accessibility so visitors can skip or return to artists or pieces they enjoy, says Padmini. For example, the narrative by Pune-based artist Debangshu Moulik, about graffiti in his city, has been displayed on a virtual simulation of a space with walls in it. Another artist has presented a soundscape that is triggered when somebody walks through it. According to Padmini, for a seamless user experience, the exhibition is best viewed on a laptop and not a smartphone.

As Sandbox is an artists’ collective and Smarter Digital Realities is one of their arts residency projects, it is no surprise that the virtual art space was designed by a resident Anoki Shah who works in 3D environment building. “She took on the actual exhibition space as her own residency,” says Padmini, adding that it took about four to five months to envision and execute the entire project.

Smarter Digital Realities 2021 will be held from December 3-6. Visitors to the site can enjoy an immersive representation of the cities of Bengaluru, Dhaka, Pune and Mumbai, as well as an inter-city musical collaboration between David De Menezes and Ria Rajan from Mumbai and Pune respectively, and an interaction between Jean Peters, founder of the media tactical collective Peng! and Padmini Ray Murray, curator of Smarter Digital Realities 2021.

Smarter Digital Realities will launch on December 3 at 6pm. Free Entry. To register email

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 5:36:42 AM |

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