India Art Fair 2024: Here’s How Artists Create Immersive Digital Project

At a nondescript industrial estate in South Mumbai, two young men stand in their studio, deep in conversation, sharing ideas. 

This is how Aaron “Myles” Pereira and Ameya Shinde spend most of their work breaks. Pereira is a product engineer at Animal Factory, while Shinde works as a designer at Studio BigFat one floor above. They are both digital artists in residence at the India Art Fair 2024, along with Dhruv Jani and Sadhna Prasad.

In addition to presenting their creations, the artists will also conduct bespoke Today at Apple sessions where attendees will use iPad to create artworks inspired by the artists’ practices. The programme will be complemented by special Today at Apple sessions by Apple Creative Pros for India Art Fair.

Aaron “Myles” Pereira and Ameya Shinde

The theme for this year is “Forces of Nature,” and Pereira and Shinde’s response is titled Ornithoscope. Built entirely on MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, the immersive audiovisual experience lets the audience explore changes in India’s avian biodiversity over the last 15 years.

“It’s hard to explain exactly what I do at parties!” laughs Pereira, a multidisciplinary artist, musician, and live performer. He designs interactive soundscapes, working with Ableton Live and Logic Pro X for music production and audio engineering.

He is collaborating with Shinde, a trained visual artist who finds inspiration in people and places. After attaining a degree in applied arts, he honed his skills on the streets of Mumbai. 

“I love sketching at exhibitions, studios — even the zoo!” says Shinde, who considers Apple Pencil and iPad Pro to be essential travelling companions. “My favourite part of the day is the morning commute on the local train. That’s when I’m most inspired to draw.”

Mumbai is both the muse and the canvas. “Growing up, I always loved hearing birdsong. But with the decline in the bird population, you hear it less and less,” says Pereira. 

Shinde concurs: “We want to draw attention to the fact that our natural world is getting quieter all the time.”

Their installation is deceptively simple to look at — an iPad Pro and projection screen surrounded by six speakers. Once the viewer chooses a state or union territory to explore, the speakers produce surround sound of corresponding bird sounds from that region. The effects of urbanisation and deforestation become alarmingly clear as users move a slider between 2008 and 2022.

The artists’ creative processes are simultaneously independent and intertwined. Shinde creates independent artworks for each region that depict unique local bird species, handcrafted using Procreate on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.

Pereira then imports the designs into his MacBook Pro with M3 Max chip and distorts them using a technique called multiple instancing. The entire software for the installation is built in Max MSP, a programming language that enables him to enhance the sound and generate visuals based on the audience’s interactions.

Dhruv Jani

If Ornithoscope invites visitors to soar high among the clouds, writer and artist Dhruv Jani’s video game installation takes them miles below Earth’s crust. 

Whimsically titled It Takes A Long Time To Grow A Mountain, the game sends players on a subterranean quest to discover the seed that spawned the Western Ghats mountain range. Players must descend through a substratum embedded with poetry, fables, and musings on language and landscape, designed and programmed on MacBook Pro with M3 Max.

“The project takes its name from a local myth about a man who seeks water for the parched land,” explains Jani. “His search awakens the gods sleeping deep below the earth. As they hunch awake, the Western Ghats spring up into existence, and the man is cursed to become a tiny seed for his transgressions.”

Jani is the founder of Studio Oleomingus, the award-winning game and arts practice studio that he runs with creative coder Sushant Chakraborty. 

Jani grew up on the coast in Daman, a region surrounded by a natural reserve and a protected forest. Today, it is a freight corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The theme “Forces of Nature” led him to examine slower forces like sedimentation and geological time, and the role that humans and language play in warping these processes.

Inspired by Arun Kolatkar’s Jejuri, Jani starts by writing a series of poems that conflate notions of piety, landscape, and history. The visual process involves building textures on Adobe Photoshop, or hand-painting them with Apple Pencil on iPad Pro.

Work then shifts to MacBook Pro, where colourful and labyrinthine gamescapes are being built using 3D modelling tools like Substance and SketchUp. He then compiles the game in the Unity3D game engine and precomputing light maps, with hardware-supported ray tracing to help create the game environment.

Sadhna Prasad

While players delve into fables and history in Jani’s gamescape, Sadhna Prasad aims to anchor audiences firmly in the present.

“My project is called I’ll Be Back,” says Prasad, a muralist and illustrator. “I want my audience to visit the world I create, and then come back and make a difference.”

Prasad is using Procreate and Procreate Dreams on iPad Pro to create a large-scale mural. It shows two worlds: One is the result of unsustainable living, and the other is the outcome if humanity reforms its ways. The artist is working with the Artivive app to turn the mural into an interactive augmented reality (AR) experience for the audience.

Prasad’s “floating studio” — iPad Pro and Apple Pencil — accompanies her everywhere. She believes that her best work is done when she’s displaced. So far, her career has taken her from a master’s degree in London to residencies in San Francisco and Shanghai.

“Procreate on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil changed my life. The smoothness and the functionality make it perfect for an artist.” – Sadhna Prasad, muralist and illustrator.

Now back home in her beloved Mumbai, she laments the indiscriminate urbanisation she sees all around the city: “It irritates me, and I’m channelling that into this project.”

“When I enter a natural space, I see ecosystems of insects, organisms, and plants,” she explains. “They exist in perfect balance. Hopefully, humans can also learn to live in harmony with other life on this planet.”

Apple has provided Prasad with a strong foundation for her artistic practice. “Procreate on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil changed my life,” she enthuses. “The smoothness and the functionality make it perfect for an artist. Together with my MacBook Pro, I can use my iPad Pro as a second screen, giving me more space to work with.”

Today at Apple at the India Art Fair

Work by this year’s digital artists in residence will be on display at the Digital Residency Hub within the The Studio, where the artists will also lead their own Today at Apple sessions guided by the theme “Forces of Nature” between 1-4 February.

In the Reimagine the Natural Order session, Prasad will invite attendees to collaborate on an original new symbiotic piece that’s inspired by her interactive mural, using iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate.

Jani’s session, Origin Stories, will allow attendees a peek into his creative process and invite them to create their own piece of playable fiction using iPad.

And in Pereira and Shinde’s Lessons in Birdsong session, attendees will be able to use iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate to design their own visuals inspired by a sonic library of diverse sounds.

In addition to the artists’ sessions, fair attendees can also join interactive Today at Apple workshops hosted by Apple Creative Pros from Apple Saket in Delhi. These bespoke sessions are designed for visitors of all ages and experience levels to help them get more creative with iPad and Apple Pencil. 

In the Art Tour session, attendees will learn to observe and sketch the striking artworks at India Art Fair using iPad, and the popular Workshop session will teach them how to draw self-portraits in 60 minutes using Apple Pencil on iPad.

Today at Apple is a unique global program offering free sessions that assist customers in unleashing their creativity and making the most of their devices. Hosted at Apple Store locations all over the world, including Apple BKC and Apple Saket, the educational and inspirational sessions range from basics and how-to lessons, to using professional-grade programs.

To celebrate the India Art Fair’s 15th anniversary, Arboretum — a stunning public installation by renowned Delhi-based artists Thukral & Tagra — will let visitors create their own digital garden using iPad. 

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