Are We Alone?

An interactive exhibition that explores the ‘Fermi Paradox’ to question the existence of intelligent life in outer space

Project Details

Team : Kalyani Tupkary, Jazeela Basheer & Rucha Joshi
Role : Researcher, Artist & Project Manager
Curator : Akshay Roongta, Story of Space 2017
Production : Priyam Vadaliya, Neha Rao, Zubin Salva
Data :  Dr. Henry Throop, scientist at the Planetary Science Institute
Voice Artist : Kratu Beri
Graphic Design : Michelle Parmar


How can a complex phenomenon be simplified?

‘Are We Alone?’ stemmed from 'Hundred Ounces of Light' - a classroom project in NID. The project was selected by the Story Of Foundation for their 2017 Story of Space festival.

It 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.


Story of space

The Story Of’ Foundation is an interdisciplinary, informal learning project. The Story of Space 2017 - was held between the 10th and 19th of November 2017 in Panjim city in Goa, India, turning it into a learning playground with live experiences, immersive installations, workshops, talks, films, and panels on questions around space from multiple perspectives. The festival engaged researchers, artists, and educators from around the globe—eighteen countries including India—to tell stories around the physics, philosophy, politics, and perception of space. These stories were geared to promote multi-perspective thinking and mindful inquiry and aligned to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals—critical for the 21st century.

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 festival was attended by 5000 students, youth, adults, and elderly. It was kept free to be open and accessible to everyone.

Planning documents

Planning documents

Promotional material by Michelle Parmar

Promotional material by Michelle Parmar

Narrative and process

Narrative and process

'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?'


'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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Bacardi NH7 Weekender

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.