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Of Spaces and Stories
Neha Mathrani



In the context of the arts, The Story of Space became perhaps one of the more ambitious undertakings in the country. It was a community funded and driven campaign, powered by volunteers, online crowd-funding, numerous synergetic partnerships with art galleries institutions, cultural spaces, universities, a diverse plethora of subjects in its ambit of inquiry. It consisted of workshops and residencies, cultivating communities, programs for the youth, elderly and after school, embracing informal learning in an open and accessible way.


From November 10th to 19th 2017 Panjim, Goa came alive with the Story of Space festival, an interdisciplinary platform that aimed at bringing together artists, educators, scientists and philosophers to interrogate the concept of space through the lenses of politics, physics, physics and perceptions.

Approximately seventy different projects from across the subcontinent and the globe were given the space to breathe and be experienced by the viewing public. With the goal of ‘being there for the 21st century inquirer,’ this was one of the most ambitious, large scale, community driven projects in the context of contemporary Indian art. The Story Of project first began in 2015 with the Story of Light. While this was also a public festival, it had taken place on a comparatively different scale.

“The last festival was more organic and experimental, ”Shaira Sequeira Shetty, core team member of the festival, muses.“Interestingly, The Story of Light had a much larger audience, perhaps because of the extremely public locations we picked, like Miramar Beach.”

In the context of the arts, The Story of Space became perhaps one of the more ambitious undertakings in the country. It was a community funded and driven campaign, powered by volunteers, online crowd-funding, numerous synergetic partnerships with art galleries institutions, cultural spaces, universities, a diverse plethora of subjects in its ambit of inquiry. It consisted of workshops and residencies, cultivating communities, programs for the youth, elderly and after school, embracing informal learning in an open and accessible way. In that sense it was a true community effort, involving not just the artists, educators and specialists from across the world but also a plethora of volunteers from students to lay people of all ages, coming together to learn, to experience, to converse and to challenge their beliefs.

Shetty noted the participation in terms of involvement was greater during Story of Space, while perhaps the audience was not as large; fascinatingly perhaps this means that more people felt inspired to come forward and involve themselves the festival rather than be passive viewers. “Story of Space had a much less visible audience in number, however was far more engaged. The projects this time went through many iterations and curation played a large part in the development of a lot of the work. I would say that this time, each project was well thought through and resonated with the theme beautifully. We curated a ‘Talks and Panels’ section called Perspectives, this level of dialogue didn’t exist the last time and we had a separate film curation team who sifted through 950 films to create a pretty cool Film Programme for the festival.”

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