It’s a travelling exhibition that made its first stop in Mumbai in April and is now in Bangalore. The Indo-German Urban Mela starting today commemorates a year of celebrations—“Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities”—between the two countries.
The 10-day festival will be packed with cultural events, concerts, science slams, quizzes, even poetry slams, in addition to presentations by German companies on topics of urbanization and collaboration between the two countries in culture and science. The thematic focus of the Mela is “StadtRäume-CitySpaces”, and it will explore the implications of rapid urbanization in both German and Indian cities.
Conceptualized by German artist Markus Heinsdorff, the pavilions at the Mela are textile structures that double up as works of art. Sixteen pavilions will host the conferences, interactive presentations and cultural events. An Indo-German Beer Garden or Biergarten will give visitors a chance to taste German food and beer, including the popular Erdinger wheat beer from Bavaria.
Walking tall: Stilt artistes will take part in the Indo-German Urban Mela.
“While this fest happens in India, the Indian embassy in Berlin will organize cultural shows by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations,” says Ketaki Golatkar, senior project manager, communications, Goethe-Institut, the organizers of the Mela.
Students can participate in a science slam, where they will get a 10-minute slot to talk on any topic related to science. “It comes from the idea of a poetry slam. They can talk about anything from how a cow moos to why the sky is blue,” says Ujwala Gulvady, project manager of the language department, Max Mueller Bhavan.
Young people and students can learn from top German CEOs and new entrepreneurs through Q&A sessions in the programme “Youth University”. “We have never really spoken about what the ties between the two countries have achieved so far and what future effort we are making and this we think will make a good platform,” says Golatkar.
The Mela will open with a performance titled Masala Fx—a collaboration between contemporary dancer Samir Akika from Germany, dance coach Nora Ronge, stage designer Gabor Doleviczenyi, sound specialist Martin Basman, and Indian artistes. Berlin-based product designer and artist Steffi Silbermann will showcase her bamboo sculptures. For death metal fans, Arkadius, vocalist and guitarist of the German death metal band SuidAkrA, will perform with Bangalore’s Kryptos. German hip hop and funk dancer Neils “Storm” Robitzky will engage both beginners and professionals in dance workshops.
Entry is free. The Indo-German Urban Mela began in Mumbai, and will be in Bangalore from 22 June-1 July. It will then travel to Chennai, Delhi and Pune. For updates and event details, visit www.germany-and-india.com