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The story of light: An arts and science festival for the illuminati
Payel Majumdar  26th Jul 2014

Illustration from The Story of Light website

hen was the last time you looked up at the celestial sphere? A new festival is upon us that offers a different perspective of the universe, and we aren't talking psychedelic drugs. Story of Light, an upcoming festival in Goa, aims to bridge the gap between art, science, philosophy, culture and design and tell the first and the longest running story of our existence — the story of light. Says Nash Paul D'Souza, one of the co-organisers of the event and a designer by profession, "We always wanted to do something about awareness and education. This idea emerged out of a small event of a similar nature that we did with local kids in Goa. Their enthusiasm apart, we found the process really interesting, an interactive way to talk about time."

This festival will be open to children and adults alike, and revolve around their novel ethic of learning via experiencing. The festival itself is divided into four themes through which their narrative unfolds. These include: "Light and Life", "Seeing and Perceiving", "Light in Technology" and "Our Universe". Nash enlightens us about how all the varied themes across the spectrum are going to come together, "Light touches everyone in varied ways. It is this medium through which we can talk of time, spirituality, culture, astronomy — it has an attractive potential." They want to bring together artists and scientists from different fields to tell a collective story, with the help of installations, photographs, mixed media, performance based dance — the scope reaches far and wide.

Story of Light will see an interesting cross section between light and technology. Nash says, "The difference between night and day is just sunlight. The story of the universe is also light — all our concepts of matter in quantum physics involve light– we realize what we talk about as matter is also space and light." Then there is the interplay of light and shadow- mirrors and reflection, how we see the world and how we see ourselves is also defined by light. Colour is light and who understands colour better than an artist — the frequency of the electro-magnetic spectrum that determines colour can best explained by artists. Artists and engineers and spiritual people and anthropologists can come together and tell stories about scientific knowledge here."

Light touches everyone in varied ways. It is this medium through which we can talk of time, spirituality, culture, astronomy — it has an attractive potential.

Plans are afoot to spread the installations over a distance of 3-5 km in mostly public spaces. This has been done, according to Nash, to democratise art. Goa has been chosen as the host place because all the organisers believe it has the right atmosphere for such a festival to take place. "Goa is a place we stay and work in, and it's a pleasure to work over here. Also, we're lucky to have open cooperation with the Panjim authorities, who have given us access to public places within the Capital."

The festival is at an early stage right now and seeks proposals from artists and scientists for screenings, talks, workshops and installations, and collaborations with each other. All proposals will culminate in an artists' residency in December, which will ultimately give way to the festival. Nash says, "Panjim has really nice public spaces — promenades, walkaways — so we want to build a community feeling around that time among all the attendees. We want people to explore the city and the installations to be within walking distance, but not to jampacked." The festival will be held from 14-18 January 2015, which are the dates for Makar Sankranti, marking the day when the sun moves onto the zodiac sign of Capricorn.

Also, 2015 is the International Year of Light as declared by United Nations, so there could not be a better time for it.

What's the need for such a festival at all? "Quantum physics is changing the way we think about things, and we would like to bring it to everyone from a creative point of view ­— tell a story — make a song and dance about it about these concepts." explains Nash.

To participate in the festival or for further details, visit

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