So there are two months remaining for the festival, the countdown has begun, and how! If you were wondering why there is no news from the production end of things, it’s because we have had a jam-packed last few months trying to get things in order for the print exhibitions. After the creative directors shortlisted the names from the 2349 submissions we received, the production army was called in to start working on the exhibitions. As excited as we were, we had no idea what was going to be in store for us ahead. Long days and nights spent between my barsati, Karan’s office and Prashant’s house, figuring out sequencing and layouts and sizing and dimensions and wall space. Believe me, there was a lot of math involved, a task which was quietly nudged towards Adil, the calculation whizkid. Amongst other skills, the best part about having Adil on the team, was him showing up one day with his mother’s home made murg mussalam. With motivation like that, who wouldn’t show up for edit meetings? Things like that definitely keep you going!
It was a long enduring process, but totally worth it to put time into. Once the photographers whose work was being featured in print had been selected by the Creative Directors, we made small prints to start working on the layouts and sequencing. The idea was for every space within the festival to have an identity of its’ own and the works within it to have a common thread running through them. While doing the layouts we constantly had to keep reminding ourselves to find the best possible display methods that represented each body of work to its fullest capacity. Some of the edits we received were complete on their own, and for some we went back to the photographers and asked them to show us what else they had that could potentially be put to use. And thank god for this, some of the gems included in the final edits aren’t even from the photographer’s first edits sent for submission. Working with the photographers in this manner and looking for alternative images made it ten-fold more interesting, though it also meant that when you’ve just finished an edit and you think you’re almost there, Prashant would exclaim, “You just HAVE to take a look at what she just sent us.”. This just meant going back to the drawing board, and working on edit no. 2, 3, 4, 5… Thank god for Adil’s coffee making skills!
When it came to the outdoor section, we made numerous trips to the India Habitat Center, trying to come up with the best display systems that would work WITH the beautiful Stein architecture, not against it. This was something that was definitely new for me, and Prashant’s suggestion of using the architecture in such a way so as to compliment the work was worth thinking about. Karan’s expert advice was sought while we were battling it out between bamboo or metal stands, 8ft high or 10 ft high structures or other construction technicalities. We’re really excited this year about some of the outdoor exhibitions, we’ve tried to break the monotony by coming up with new materials and structures from last time. There are a few surprises in store and we hope you’ll enjoy these!
We also finally managed to get different costings from our vendors for the different materials. The outdoor test print was soaked in water for 24 hours to check for water solubility. Because, come rain or sunshine, we want you to be able to view the shows anytime during those two weeks of the festival.
Next stop, making the test prints and going into final printing of the shows. 60 days to go! Stay tuned!
– Tanvi Mishra
Images, Adil Hasan and Tanvi Mishra