It is Philipp Geist’s first Diwali and this year, he will celebrate a bright and colourful one in Pune as he prepares for the city’s first ever video-mapping show on the exteriors of Shaniwarwada. As part of an initiative by the Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), this project, led by the Berlin-based multimedia artist, will create a unique audio- visual experience using projection on the monument. The show is set to take place on October 27 and 28 at 7pm.
Geist has earlier worked on similar projects using the video-mapping technique to bring out significance in heritage and culture in monuments like the Azadi Tower in Iran, Puran Dhaka in Bangladesh and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. Speaking to Pune365, he talks about how each light installation is developed for that specific site only, “I’ve done many different installations worldwide but at every place, every installation is side-specific and needs to be developed specially for the place. Shaniwarwada is a wonderful place and that’s why I chose it for my light art project. It is a time journey between the past, present and future.”
Accompanying Geist’s imagery will be music by DJ Ma Faiza in the presence of other live musicians. Using this, Geist will try to develop a dialogue between the monument, the music and his artistic use of light. He will also incorporate candles and lights to symbolise Diwali. He talks about how he prepares to understand such monuments and sites better, “Usually, I visit places beforehand to get familiar with it and the surroundings or at least, I need to see a lot of photos, blue prints, and maps of the building to get a better idea of the venue. Also, the context of a place and history interested me. I visited Shaniwarwada inside and outside and took many photos, from details to flowers and trees. I use this as an inspiration to develop the installation.”
The main focus of this project is also to use public spaces and similar such sites to involve more people in the city to raise awareness about the importance of preserving heritage and culture. “We want to ensure that everyone has access to a show like this. Such a project makes the heritage site or monument much for lively and attracts many people. It is a very informal setting. There are no chairs so even people passing by can enjoy the show. Geist will be adding words in Marathi which will give messages about Diwali,” explains Renu Jamgaonkar, the cultural co-ordinator for Goethe-Institut.
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