Greetings for the Diwali season!
While we celebrate this is also a time that brings an urgent reminder, exposing a different picture under the bright lights. Along with the sparklers and crackers that herald this time of year, we start moving into winter and there is a massive amount of pollution. News reports are that we are breathing 14 to 16 times more polluted air as Diwali smog sinks closer to Delhi. Suddenly we become more conscious of the environment and we start asking ourselves – what can I do, my bit to reduce this pollution? We become more aware of our blindly following a materialistic culture that digs relentlessly into the earth’s resources. Simultaneously, we find many going back to old ways, to indigenous ways where we embraced the earth to live in harmony. It made me reflect on Harsh Singh Lohit’s change of heart, leaving his corporate life and turning to nature and farming. His recent article in Aman Bagh, a blog on Artisanal, Slow and Sustainable farming, brings to question if we have misbehaved with our land to a point beyond recovery. Is it really too late? You can find out about organic farming and a natural life in a thought-provoking interview with Shri Lohit to be featured in our next newsletter edition.
I compare these shifts to how even we as designers tend to become more aloof from everyday affairs and society as we start to earn more. We start to cater to a niche segment and sit in ivory towers oblivious to the real needs of the land and its people. Acquiring wealth always distances us from reality. We lose our sense of attachment to society. As artists and designers, it is imperative that we maintain our link with people. Disasters force us to do this and in this case, the degenerating environment. Pushed to the edge, I actually begin to find inventive ways to take the Metro more often than drive my car. Bring my studio closer to home and save the commute. In doing so, a way to get closer to our people and going back to the older way of community life is found.
This newsletter issue November Lights brings you an array of tit-bits from across the board. This edition concentrates on how graphic design has influenced cinema, textiles and the city’s visual framework. We have Dr. Kaushik Bhaumik’s thoughtful contribution on visual design in Indian cinema in Outsourcing the Modern: the Split Worlds of Bollywood Design. What’s Next in Line gives you a peek into our ongoing research project on what makes up the dynamic young Indian metro identity. Photographs of typography by our studio team are interpreted by Ruma Dhingra in Type and the City to tell the story of Delhi culture and history. In From Type to Textile, Sujatha Shankar Kumar talks to designer Akila Seshasayee about her foray into textile design and how it is informed by her graphic design sensibilities. Our love for community and collaboration has led us to host a Forum each month where a group of us gets together to discuss and present our work and projects. Trust us, it’s become a great habit. Packing it all in gives you a flavor of the Forum and where it is headed.
As always, we are happy for your reading our articles and we look forward to your response. Wishing you a safe, joyful and wondrous season. May it be eventful in many good ways!