Arts and Entertainment

Yantra 4.0: The evolution of Nepali tech

- Prajesh SJB Rana
Yantra 4.0, an art and technology exhibit, casts insight into how modern-day technologies can be used in myriad ways—in art, in storytelling and as an experience

Dec 23, 2015-Yantra 4.0, a collaborative exhibition of technology and art, is scheduled to startfrom Dec 23, 2015 at the Nepal Art Council, Babarmahal and will continue till Jan 5, 2016. The fourth iteration of the annual Yantra series of exhibitions, Yantra 4.0 aims to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations between art and tech. Nepal, obviously, does not fall among the most technologically innovative countries, but in recent years, we have seen many extraordinary innovations within Nepal as well. Danphe, the first aeroplane developed in Nepal by eight mechanical engineering students from Pulchowk Campus, was one of the first projects that brought innovation in the field of technology to light. Countless other art and technology instalment art pieces have also graced the exhibition halls of major museums around Kathmandu creating an environment for experimentation and collaboration between artist and technologists. Yantra 4.0 creates a platform to showcase these advancements in technology and art, and hopes to create a dialogue between these artists, technologists and consumers.

One portion of Yantra 4.0, the National Robotics Competition organised by the Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN), has already taken place earlier this week on Dec 19 at the Army Fitness Training Centre, Lagankhel. The competition this year saw four categories where students or groups of students and their robots competed against each other. The competition this year featured categories like the Yantra Racer, where robots raced against each other by automatically identifying and racing the track; Yantra Akhada Manual and Yantra Akhada Automatic, where robots wrestled each other, through manual controls in the former and automatically in the latter; and finally Towards The Center where robots need to make their way across an obstacle course. The winning robots from the competition will be showcased at the Yantra exhibition this week.

Apart from the Robotics Competition, Yantra 4.0 also features four interactive artworks aided by technology at the exhibition. These four interactive artworks have been created by artists and engineers as part of the Creative Computing course provided by Yantra and features some interesting art exhibitions by local artists and engineers. The Touch-Me-Not exhibition, brought to life by artists Amrit Karki and Deepak Lopchan in collaboration with engineer Pujan Ranjit, is an exhibition inspired by the Touch-Me-Not (Mimosa Pudica) plant and features mechanical plants that, just like the natural plant, reacts to tactile stimuli. The Irritating Machine is an exhibition that couples portraits of the Prime Ministers of Nepal with erratic and annoying sounds and lights to create an annoying or ‘irritating experience’ for the viewers. The exhibition is also a political commentary by the team of Kabi Raj Lama, Rabi Raj Khadka and Rabin Pant.

Likewise, there is Peace Pond—a work by artist Mahima Singh and engineers Asmita Adhikari and Roshan Thapa— which is a project on top of a shallow pond where Lotus flowers with LED lights, can be used to create a peace symbol by dropping the flower on lotus leaves. Working with the Lokbaja Museum, artists Mekh Limbu, Subhash Tamang and Shreejana Rajbahak along with engineer Binod Pangeni, have created a modern Sarangi that can be used to teach children, as well as adults, about the harmonies and notes of the Sarangi.

Yantra 4.0 is not limited to exhibitions, however, and also provides smaller events throughout the exhibition in an attempt to showcase how technology works in the real-world. Yantra 4.0 will have different kinds of sensors spread throughout the venue in an attempt to educate the viewer on how different kinds of sensors work. The exhibition also consists of a category titled Students Section that features an interactive multiplayer game called ‘Homework’. The objective of this game is to stop objects from falling on your homework and destroying it. Yantra will also provide guided tours, workshops, and design challenges as a package for school children under the age of 14.

With technology making up so much of the world that we live in and dictating how we interact with the world, it has definitely changed how we look at and live in the world today. Yantra 4.0 is an insight into the technological side of the world. It is an insight into how modern-day technologies can be used in different ways—in art, in storytelling and as an experience. There is little limitation in what we can do with technology, we only need to imagine, and Yantra 4.0 shows us how we can innovate and push the boundaries of what we think is possible by using technology to reshape and construct our ideas. Yantra 4.0 is an exhibition that shows us how far Nepal has come in the field of technology and how artists and engineers are adapting to the ever-changing world of tech. The exhibition has been organised by Siddhartha Arts Foundation’s Education Initiative (SAFEI), Karkhana and Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN).

Published: 23-12-2015 08:54

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