Architect Aditi ‘Ditty’ Veena brings ideas of sustainability to her music

For Goa-based conservation architect Ditty, designing a sustainable solution to a problem is key. The same idea resonates in her music

“Building is a destructive activity,” says Aditi Veena, better known as Ditty. Ironic, considering she is an architect.

“Conservation architect,” she corrects. She continues listing the negatives. “Building with cement especially is destructive. It comes from mountains and rivers. It is gypsum, lime and sand. We are constantly excavating these evolutionary resources. But with them we are creating something that is dead,” she says dramatically banging a wall, and adding, “The life of this wall will end in 30 years and will be thrown in a landfill and another one will come up.”

Ditty’s mind is filled with questions such as ‘where does our water come from?’, ‘how are we designing our cities?’, ‘are they conducive to community living?... A lot of them are the result of the “incredible education” she received in college: School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi. She likes going behind every problem, deconstructing it and designing a solution. A lot of these ideas often find their way into her music.

That is right. Ditty is also a singer, poet, musician and released her first EP in 2014. Titled Mumblings, it has four tracks. Her début album came out last June and comprises eight tracks. It is called Poetry Ceylon and was created during her stay in Sri Lanka where she worked as a conservation architect.

Ditty’s style of music is indie/alternative and her songs she says are “honest and about what she is thinking, feeling and about the world we are creating.” The 30-year-old started writing poems six years back after her father passed on. It was cathartic. Now, she has a repository of nearly 600 songs. In the last two years, she has performed at the Ziro Festival, NH7 in Pune, Ranthambore Music and Wildlife Festival, Spoken Fest, Magnetic Fields and Where Have All The Flowers Gone in Manipur.

The architect, who was in Chennai to perform at the launch of Arture’s new line, has her own practice in Goa — landscape conservation, ecosystem repair and permaculture systems. She is working on converting degraded landscapes into a food forest or something that can harvest water and provide us with ecosystem services. “In Goa, I am doing a community-run food forest and a farm-to-table restaurant. And I am also doing a small school for a slum in Delhi.”

Need of the hour
  • Arture, the city-based sustainable accessories brand, recently introduced its new line of accessories, After Life. This is their recycling project. “Sustainability is not just about sustainable materials, it is also about what happens at the end of the life of the product,” says Shivani Patel, founder of the brand. Any one who has shopped from Arture can send back their products and get 20% off on the next order, says Shivani.
  • These products are then broken down and an entirely new accessory is made out of it. The first line will launch in six months time. “After Life products will have a slightly worn out, distressed look. They will be made using linings, zips, sponge, organic cotton lining and corks, magnets and buttons. There will be coin pouches, earphone holders, bag charms and so on.

In between, she also writes new songs. A new record is under way. Taking music to the streets is part of the plan too. “I want to talk to them about the earth, and how people are disconnected from it, ourselves and reality. Some call it climate change, some call it war.”

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:39:00 PM |

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