I have been a part of Platform For Artists (PFA) for over a year now and all that we do here works majorly on intuition, belief and confidence. The projects effectuated in the past one year have been a result of sleepless nights along with the zeal to prevail. As Platform For Artists turned one this April, there had to be some celebration in Pune. Rather than celebrating the triumph by reuniting with the talented souls we have known, the plan was to implement divergent ideas to lay the foundation of a new beginning.
Unwilling and hesitant to the feasibility of the idea, this is exactly how it began with me. I was convinced that building an experiential art show which has never been done in the country is beyond the bounds of possibility. The crew strived endlessly to reassure me while I interrogated every point they put forth. Their consistency overweighed my stubbornness. Yes! Two months later, we did build the first experiential art show in India – “Unlearn”.
The purpose was to narrate a story through interdisciplinary art in an unconventional space. The show was built inside a dark tunnel with 15 art stations where 15 individual artists, all from different art genres, depicted a part of the story through their art form. I fail to put it in words even today because it was an ‘experience’. And no words could do justice to what I felt inside the tunnel. The audience was supposed to walk through the dark tunnel for 45 minutes and there was no verbal narration in the entire show. It was a risk, but one worth taking.
I have done engineering yet never sacrificed my sleep for any exam or submission, but “Unlearn” gave me a tour of all the places I had never been to. To build the show, I had to convince myself first and then others about the practicality of bringing this concept into physical existence. I have always been grateful for what I do at PFA because it has given me experiences I might not have had otherwise. It began with comprehending the story, getting artists on board, managing the 147 other tasks that came along while preserving sanity, which was a priority. While holding firm was a challenge through all this, I am delighted about everything that happened during those two months because it has reshaped my temperament, making me an optimistic person. I might not be able to list down all the things here, but I have a treasure of those lessons that I will cherish lifelong.
To implement a whole new concept, I had to unlearn my initial thoughts and beliefs. Only then I could experience and give credence to the new! The new that holds the power to bring a change in the art scenario of the country.
“Unlearn” helped me learn a lot of things. I am content with the fact that I was flexible with my acceptance while I was obstinate about my beliefs initially.