Are We Alone?

*How can a complex phenomenon be simplified?

 

‘Are We Alone?’ stemmed from 'Hundred Ounces of Light' - a classroom project in NID. The project evolved into an exhibit for immersive learning with the aim of simplifying seemingly complex information into a form, everyone can understand easily, by eliminating scientific jargon and replacing it with a human-centric output. The goal of the project was to explain in plain language, the ‘Fermi Paradox’, a theory by the physicist Enrico Fermi that questions the existence of intelligent life in outer space. The installation is three different experiences, starting with an audio-visual experience, to a tactile interactive exhibit and ending in a user input based installation.

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The overall goals of the festival are to promote a public understanding of current science; to create a network and platform for science, philosophy, art, and culture to meet through cross- and inter-disciplinary stories; and to promote the sensibility to patterns that connect.

‘The Story Of’ Foundation is an interdisciplinary, informal learning project.

The Story of Space 2017 brought researchers of science & philosophy, artists & designers, writers & poets, musicians, coders, cultural practitioners, and educators on a common platform to create spontaneous and cultivated learning experiences on the subject of ‘Space’ from various disciplines and perspectives. The 10-day festival in Goa is for the general public, across generations, and is free for all to experience.


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'Enter the pitch-dark space, but carefully. Listen closely to the voice that you hear. What you hear is the scientific theory by Physicist Enrico Fermi, The Fermi Paradox. It questions the existence of intelligent life and extraterrestrial civilizations in outer space. It also talks about Drake's equation, which helps us to calculate the number of active and communicative civilizations in the Milky Way. Consider, for a moment, the existence of life forms far beyond our understanding. Think, for a minute, why has no one ever made an attempt to contact us?'


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'Look around this whitewashed labyrinth. You will see a jungle of fabric. The space can be puzzling but so is this paradox. Wander around in this maze of possibilities. Then delve deep into it. Comb through, until you see each question. Maybe you will find an answer amongst all them, for these questions are nothing but possible answers to the Fermi Paradox.'

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Which one do you believe in? Look beyond this space bleached of its colour. Do you see a sliver of hope or a
sense of foreboding? Mark your answer with the sticker.

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A part of this exhibition was showcased at the NH7 Weekender, an annual, multi-city music festival in India. We were thrilled to be a part of the event that is one of the largest music festivals in India, with an annual attendance across the editions of over 100,000. 


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Project Details

Artists - Kalyani Tupkary, Jazeela Basheer & Rucha Joshi
Curator - Akshay Roongta, Story of Space 2017
Production - Priyam Vadaliya, Neha Rao, Zubin Salva
Data -  Dr. Henry Throop, scientist at the Planetary Science Institute
Narration - Kratu Beri
Graphic Design - Michelle Parmar

Though the project started with only three of us in Nov 2016, the team grew over the span of time. The project has been truly collaborative in nature, roping in various people and their expertise.

My individual contribution to the project included -

concept generation and refinement especially building the narrative, adding the user input installation, visualizing the concept (mapping the exact mark for each strip), production specifically the white fabric jungle, documenting the process and finally pitching the project for various grants.