A month or so ago, we lost a few clients. Lockdown woes. Meaning we finally had some time to do non-brand, non-sales related work. Work that was essentially THE. One of our briefs-to-self was to look at a pertinent issue that preceded the pandemic, was rampant during the pandemic, and could prevail in the post-pandemic world. Unless of course we stopped it.
Hate. Discrimination. Racism. Xenophobia.The pandemic amplified it all.
The Covid 19 situation exposed a whole new wave of fear and panic. Doctors, medical workers, Muslims, Chinese, people from North-east India, blacks, strangers, migrant workers, domestic workers, and even the law. No one was spared. The media-frenzied whatsapp groups went into overdrive. Full Throttle Panic Mode. People reacted. A lot for the worse.
How do you not touch your face during the pandemic?
There’s panic, and a lot more Don’t’s than we are usually used to. However, when we looked at this critically, through multiple lenses, taking into consideration a diversity of personas the answer to the question ‘how not to touch your face’ was simple. After deep thought and a bottom-up design process, we closed in on a few winners. Here is the series of 5 such fully-thought through machinations that relook at our relationship with technology, our hands, our face and our hearts during #covid19
Introducing machine 1: THE Facecupboard
The next logical prototype after THE Facecupboard…
Improbable Machine 2: THE Handsmacker, aka the high-fiver, aka the gobsmacker.
Is it a falcon? is it a drone? presenting Drone Falcons – Machine 3 in the series.
Nothing keeps your face safe like the Rotating Cactus Glass Helmet, the fourth machine in our series of Improbable Machines that can help you not touch your face.
For the finale, its a pant drop. Literally Self-Dropping Pants. Our least intrusive, most offensive idea so far. 🙂
Maybe someday soon we will probably try to make these improbable machines. Till then, stay safe and think happy everyday.
Last year we did a lot more than make an installation for Art Bengaluru. Saving that for another eventy ‘we-did-a-lot-of-work’ video. This was the fun bit: Making large 3D alphabets, woven with thousands of meters of thread on a metal structure, all topped up with some subtley beautiful El-wire. Oh Yeah!
We made this for BMS School of Architecture, Yelahanka sometime last year. Finally got around to posting it. In the meanwhile..THE team has been making and doing a whole lot of things 🙂 more posts will be up soon.
Built pixel by pixel, Transience is an abstraction of the transitionary nature of being, where life is more than metadata .
Transience represents a moment where industry meets art, and technology meets imagination –– a freely linked collective defying gravity to open-up to a whole new world of perspective, where life is juxtaposed with an iridescence of spirit.
Structured at its core, the installation fuses material with metaphor transcending monotony, infusing vibrance, and a state of play.
A flux of neon comments on the kinesis of being still, transience is motion. We wanted the viewer to experience the fleeting pixels of inspiration, all linked, yet unique, like ideas, inspiration and the very ambition that drives us.
This one really did light us up.
Designed and made in 2018 for BMS SA by Ar. Anabelle Viegas at THE Workshop.
Every once in a while a brief that really inspires comes along. This one was a breath of fresh air. Time-coded fans to suck in air, an Air Quality Monitor, Real time display, loads of metal, mesh, pristine white hepa filters, and finally a compelling message.
This billboard was more an urban intervention meets brand activation meets experiential marketing.
Fun Fact: While it was one of the littlest billboards around the city, (we did make the Abbys Goafest 2018 shortlist…OOH), the real kicker here (read win) was that well-over 2 and a half million people saw this creative output. Not bots…or counting the eyeballs on-site. With the budgets we had when we made it, every single reaction on digital was organic. The good stuff. Happy to see millions of people care. Humanity…we still have faith in you.
The making of ‘THE Billboard that Breathes’ was fun. Artist, Coders, THE Workshop team, Art, copy, welders, things moved swiftly at THE Workshop. On-ground it was tougher to get the billboard up than we anticipated. Plus we didn’t have a budget for a crane. People power!
Long story short. We made an explainer video VO, edit, et all. Somehow, Brut made a better one. We like the brut video. Peppy stuff.
Here’s the FB post that went viral: Love it when people comment, there were over 1500 concerned people. And thousands and thousands of shares. Whoopiee! Job done.
This is what we made.
The media did catch wind of this. Press mentions always make THE work feel a tad bit more rewarding. Here’s what they had to say:
Once upon a magical moon, a ‘fearless artist’ decided to tell a story of the tides. Heart full of flowers, she needed help to make Tidal, a ‘geofeedback’ installation that bridges the gap between water bodies outside and inside us. THE Workshop stepped up to build a suspended storm of metal clouds, illuminated with thousands of LEDs that pull from tidal data and flow in time with the river. When you interact with a large silver moon-like bowl of water placed in the centre of the installation- you start to pull light towards you, from one body of water to another. This went beyond the usual.
Could we make this at THE Workshop? And then ship it across the seas to the Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh?
Challenge Accepted 🙂 🙂 🙂
Ready to fly!
From under the bridge to the outdoor structure, the final location where the installation was to be built changed , so the installation changed form, and code. Every iteration looked beautiful.
Thousands of LEDs embedded in over 30 huge metal clouds forming a spiral vortex, code directing it as it hovers over a four-foot moon shaped bowl filled with water. Water that responds to your touch. Water that links you to the river. The LEDs programmed with over three years of the live tidal data. The patterns flowed, matching Shilo’s artistic vision. It was a great team effort making the tech happen, sensors, moon bowl, weeks of intense wiring, soldering, rewiring, testing, and all that jazz. Twas’ a fun monsoon.
Packed to perfection, Tidal travelled 13,634 km from THE Workshop, at Nagwara, Bangalore to Point State Park, Pittsburgh, USA. Coincidentally, it was the first international build for THE Workshop. We literally had our heads in the clouds for the whole week we spent assembling it in there.
Tidal was a massively precise build. Made possible by THE team of asskickers: Srinidhi, Juneza, Gopi, Sanjay, Purvi, Naseer, back in India, and Heather, and everyone else who helped in Pittsburgh.
Here’s the MAKING video:
The finale. A beautifully interactive geofeedback installation in a giant white geodesic dome. We could say Tidal was a geostorm of a build, maybe that be a tad bit too…Cheesy?
The tide is in. Aqueous transmission complete.
Tidal did make some waves : Here’s what the people of the media had to say:
Tidal was made in 2017 @THE Workshop in collaboration with Shilo Shiv Suleman.
Sometime late 2016, we ran one of our first woodworking workshops with Bram. A year on in he’s back from France, and set up Bram Woodcrafting Studio in Mysore. Happy to say we’ve collaboratively run some of our most awesome hands-on woodworking workshops with his team.
Two questions to get started: What’s a plank got to do with this?
And…How does one make a plank, THE Plank?
Space-saving, flat, minimalistic even, it’s one of the more functional woodworking projects to begin with –– the design we made is a simple adaptation of the original. The original is a mystery. Known by many other names including the Viking Chair, African chair, One-Board chair, The Plank Chair, and popularly dubbed the world oldest and simplest chair design. Stuff that DIYers cut their teeth on. Literally. Magic with a saw.
And while Norway and Africa both don’t care who made the chair first, Bram and THE crew everyone had themselves a fun time.
Here’s what mentors and participants had to say:
We’re super happy to see people making and doing. People come back for seconds, and, we’ve even had participants who have flown in from across the world. True story. Drop by THE Workshop and we’ll continue the conversation.
We ended 2016 with a research-driven interactive installation at our very first Biennale. Pi’s, emotional maps of the city, original emotion based frequency sounds, and first person POV’s of four peculiar characters of the city.
That’s loads of data, research and creation all crunched into a month of making. In the meanwhile, we also helped set up URBAN CITYLAB, Bangalore. Fun December 🙂
Initiated by Ar. Sandhya Rao and Ar. Anabelle Viegas, URBAN CITYLAB is a research collective of Urban Designers, planners, architects, sociologist’s and academicians based out of Bangalore. The research collective focuses on innovative urban proposals that will transform the way we live; concepts of hybrid urbanism that offer a juxtaposition of programs to live, work, and play for a hyper-mobile, hyper-connected population.
The installation: The Urban Bi-spectacle is an on-going research project on the sensory experience of Bengaluru’s multi-layered, hyper-connected reality. It uncovers layers of interaction, experience and emotion while revealing the characters, characteristics and peculiarities of the urban.
Tracing the activities of various urban actors, we examine the multiplicity of the Bangalore urban to generate discourses on alternative methods of city design, and relook at ways to analyse and interpret real-time data.
Conceptualised, and built by Urban Citylab, this study provides insights into the nature of the city we know, sense and recognise, while focusing on the spatial, sensorial and emotional nuances defining it.
Put simply, the city is calling for help, and we dial in an emotion. A precursor to the digitally lead lives of people in the world’s most dynamic city. Thanks Gopi, Arnab, Arthur, Chetan, Faseeh, Manoj, all volunteers, and THE Workshop for making this.
You can visit THE Urban Bi-spectacle at the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016. Stop by Yousuf Art Gallery, Opposite international tourist police museum, Jew town road, Mattancherry, Kochi. The installation will run all though Feb, until 29th March 17.
When we started out, we were just going with the flow. Feeling the beat so to say. People were making stuff. Some metal, some wood, some of a stranger material composition. A water can masquerades as a bass guitar. Rhythm dances forth. A spine is formed.
Metal and bow, water and void, the waterphone was a few keys to far. Yet it resounded somewhere off the Norwegian coast. Every other time a little whale would sing.
Swimming across frequencies guided by the steady beats of the cajon. A pattern emerges. Spikey little notes try to adhere. Music surfaces. Magic happens.
Big, small, little, large, too young, too old, dark, fair, brown, black, loud, soft, smart, stupid, from here, from there, worships this, believes that, nobody, somebody, everybody. Think Happy Everyday.
(This was the copy that didn’tmake it on the final installation)
Sometime last year we were invited to partner with the Under25 Summit to be held early January this year. Founders Shreyans and Anto were open to ideas for an installation that echoed their ideology. Woopiee! Good time for us to work with a super-motivated and socially-active audience.
While mining for ideas, we realised that perspective was what one of the core takeaways from this summit.
We jogged through some surreal illusions before deciding on The Ames room: a perspective based optical illusion room, constructed with the walls, floor and roof at various acute angles. The sum effect creating an illusion where one person standing at one corner of the room seemed like a giant towering over another person standing at the opposite corner.
So we got our Hobbit boots on and summoned the white wizard. The build was simple enough, a week of cutting up plywood, metal sections and the painting repetitive patterns. Sometime around the end of our build we found out our venue was on the 7th Floor terrace of the World Trade Centre. Schematics shuffled, welds broken and we had a modular design in a couple of hours.
Friends and fairy folk stopped by around midnight to help us finish up. Post sunrise, we struggled for three hours to get a little perspective up to the 7th floor. Service elevator worries, a serpentine corridor to navigate that made the task Sisyphean. 10 am, the sun blazing on the northern terrace, our semi-fatigued motley crew all paint, grease conjured up the 12 x 8 illusion in wood, metal and rexine.
People lined up for a little perspective
People were curious. How did it work? What was inside ? Was there a show? Was there a message? A surprise? Selfies, videos, like like like, happy times. End of story…We were delighted that one message resonated with everyone there. Perspective, is indeed a powerful thing.