The 21st-century is a place teeming with collectives. As it often happens with great ideas that become trendy buzzwords, some collectives too have detached themselves from the original meaning of the word. Some are too vague, some are too exclusive, and many are not at all a collective of like-minded individuals, but rather one-man/woman shows posing as one.
Still, collectives – whether dedicated to art, music, technology or conservation – add a layer of nobility to a world driven by start-ups. Especially when we consider the lack of support from the government for the arts in India. Below are a few collectives from the country whose work speaks for itself.
A Mumbai-based collective dedicated to all things Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality. Co-founded by U.K. Dasari and Ishita Gandhi, it is a growing community of techies who share ideas through various platforms and events like talks, workshops, meet-ups, screenings, webinars, and hackathons. At the recently concluded Jio MAMI film festival in Mumbai, VR Collective organised two very trippy days of 15 VR films and documentaries that got even Bollywood stars’ attention. Follow them here.
Maraa defines itself as ‘a media and arts collective’, though that seems like an oversimplification of its diverse portfolio. Started out of Bangalore by Ekta Mittal, Seema Nair and Ram Bhat in 2008, Maraa has done some very interesting work in setting up the first community radio stations in India, besides producing and screening documentaries concerning a range of issues. The public space and art festival curated by them every October offers alternate perspectives on urban life through multiple art forms.
A Ladakh-based collective, this one is a dedicated team comprising designers, architects and social workers alike. Amongst other activities, Roots Collective engages with heritage documentation and conservation, public exhibitions, art residencies, street art projects and design and architecture workshops. We especially liked their Experimental construction hands-on summer school held in Zanskar earlier this year, it taught the participants about earth construction and upcycling technology through practical experience.
‘An Indian collective of Instagrammers’ – Katha Collective works on a simple premise of creating meaningful photo essays exclusive using phone camera as the medium of documentation. It was founded by photographer Ritesh Uttamchandani two years ago in Mumbai, in collaboration with a number of professional photojournalists from across India. The best part? You too can contribute and be a part of this collective. Check them out here.
Urban Design Collective
Here’s a collective of urbanophiles that takes its cities seriously. UDC was founded in Chennai in 2011 as a collaborative platform for architects, urban designers, planners, engineers, artists, writers, photographers and just about anyone who cares to bring about a change in the way our cities are being built. UDC’s Urban Colloquium initiative organises a number of city-centric events including field trips and public walking projects that we particularly like.