Mané (prayer wheel) is a collaboration between Artree Nepal, a visual artist collective, and Karkhana, a group of technologists who are also educators.
Artree Nepal Statement: Social structures in Nepal are rapidly changing with modernization and the introduction of new technologies. This has drastically changed lifestyles especially for the youth. Meanwhile the older generation has difficulty adapting to these newer perspectives. In this transitional phase our societal traditions and technology have not been able to integrate. Realizing this gap Artree collaborated with Karkhana to create art that is a connection between technology and tradition.
Karkhana Statement: Perhaps each wave of modern technology has furthered the distance between Nepali youth and their cultural heritage. This is not a shortcoming of modern technology but of our society. Unable to innovate, we have become merely importers of new ideas and tools. Consequently, we use apps, watch cartoons and engage with user interfaces that do not transmit to us our cultural inheritance. In collaboration with the artists of Artree, Karkhana wanted to expand the vocabulary of technology to encompass traditional artifacts, symbols and practices.
In this art work, Mané, Karkhana and Artree wanted to appropriate, both in form and function, an ancient totem to present a contemporary message. It seeks to preserve the tactile, playful and engaging nature of the mané, even when using atypical materials for the construction. Using technology (Arduinos, xBee Wireless, Processing and sensors) the collaborators have also repurposed the mané as a user-interface for animation while retaining its traditional and symbolic significance.
As it turns, the images on the mané and the animation it triggers emphasizes their mantra of better learning experiences for children. Learning experiences that becomes playful, experiential and productive because they have creative freedom.
Artree Nepal is an independent visual art space created to enhance contemporary Nepali Art. It has been functioning as a platform for artists and creative individuals to grow personally as well as collectively. An engaging art-junction to share ideas. skills, analyze and examine contemporary issues Artree looks forward to broaden the horizon of Nepalese art through projects, workshops, courses and art-talks.
Hit Man Gurung, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Mekh Limbu, Lavakant Chaudhari ,Subash Tamang and interns Reeya Pradhan , Ayush Shakya , Prayush Bijukchhe from ArtTree Nepal were involved in production.
Karkhana is an education company and makerspace based. Formed by a group of technologists turned educators it emphasizes project-based learning that integrate the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Culture and Math) subjects. Karkhana’s teachers are encouraged to seek out enriching experiences. They receive institutional support in creating art, competing in tech challenges, or just to learn how to dance. We believe that the richness of the classroom experience is a reflection of the richness of the teacher’s life. Thus we support our teachers to live intellectually curious and adventurous lives.
Producing the mané exhibit involved three Karkhana teachers, Dipeshwor Man Shrestha, Suresh Ghimre, Sakar Pudasaini, and one intern Ashim Sitola.