The Nash Paul D’Souza Interview
Creative Director
The Story Of Light Festival

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The Story Of Light Festival just held in Goa, India, 14-18 jan 2015, was the first event of its kind. It brought together both artists and scientists to celebrate light and educate people as to the breakthroughs in light science and it’s importance to human kind. Nash Paul D’Souza was the festival’s creative director. This is what he had to say about it.

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Nash, thank you for you time, you have said that each and every person who attended the Story Of Light Festival would take away a surprising new perspective on light science and even on light itself. Just how important are the new advances in lighting science / technology and how can they positively affect human beings and our environment.

Lighting technology advancements are happening at a crazy pace. Lights are improving in their efficiency (lasting longer, using less power), their design (customized for very specific usages) and their interactions (sensors and mashups) more and more commonly used. Even aside from visible light, humans are continously exploiting light, from radio waves to gamma rays, in the fields of mobile technology to astronomy, more and more defining the directions we could move to in the future. In terms of science, light is the perfect medium to give deeper understandings – colour, sight, infinity, wave particle duality and initiate a lot of people into the beginnings of quantum mechanics in a fun and experiential way. Add to the these, the numerous cultural and spiritual stories that can be told in relation to light and light suddenly becomes this huge subject that has something for everyone.

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You attracted a lot of interest from international, light orientated companies and individuals to be part of the festival. Around 130 proposals in all. How did you whittle them down to the 45 you needed?

Our criteria for choosing from the proposals we received was three fold :

  1. Intent: A concept that was imaginative, bold and thorough with a message that was clearly defined and resonating with the festival
  2. Educational impact: A piece with the ability to engage and share knowledge with the audience. With extra points for interactivity.
  3. Execution ability: The feasibility of execution of the concept based on the experience of the project team. Also extra points for environmental considerations (for example usage of recycled materials and solar powering the installation)

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Throughout history, science and art have been somewhat nervous bedfellows. Was there a real meeting of the minds in Goa? Did this combination of what is normally considered two disparate talents produce outstanding things that would not have otherwise existed?

We believed that artists and designers could tell scientific concepts that were otherwise abstract, complex and equation based in real, engaging manners, And the festival was a reflection of that, for eg “Light in reflection” was created by Silvia Verdolini (an Astrophysicist) and Manuel Scortini (an Architect), each using their skills and knowledge to bring about an impressive real life game with mirrors in a spiral bamboo enclosure to give audiences an insight into the reflection of light.

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It has been reported that the festival, like most new things that challenge convention, experienced some teething problems. How resilient did you and your team have to be to make the whole thing happen?

Oh it was tough explaining the need for a festival based on informal learning that really doesn’t conveniently fit completely in Science or Art or Design or Entertainment or Education to the government and to prospective sponsors. It took time and patience and persistence from the entire team to make it happen. India right now seems at the right stage to have a festival like this at this important intersection of so many fields, blurring the boundaries, democratizing art and demystifying science and most importantly making learning for everyone more engaging. Our team was almost completely volunteer based, each person giving his or her time and energy for the cause. It was trying at times but for the most part is was a real heart warming celebration of teamwork and goodness.

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Light is important especially for us humans. It’s right up there with oxygen and water. 2015 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Light. But what more can we do to impress upon the general public the value of good lighting and the positive things it can bring to life?

More and more when we use the term Light we fail to realize that the #1 source of it is the Sun and the fact that we are alive due to its warmth and glow. We hoped to educate audiences in this and also in the possibility of using the sun as an alternative sustainable source of energy. Also at the same time of the immense improvements in the field of lighting, we feel a lot of awareness of the smart usage of light and the effects of light pollution the need to go out to individuals, architecture students, governments. Balancing the battle between star light and city light. Its this sensitivity and understanding of light that needs to change and by using interesting methods of communication we can effectively put this point across.

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http://thestoryoflight.org

Photography: Mitwa A.V. and Tinka Kalajžić Ines

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