What makes people connect?

As part of a two week multi-disciplinary, experimental course on technical studies held at NID, we explored the theme of connection.

Our course was called 'Connected Pols' ( 'Pol' refers to a housing cluster which comprises many families of a particular group, linked by caste, profession, or religion. Pols are typical to many areas in Gujarat)
We went around Pols in Ahmedabad and simply observed.

We observed the houses, how people live, their habits, the objects they use, their visual culture and their lifestyles.
We started looking for areas to draw inspiration from and started sketching out rough ideas.
Our biggest insight after visiting the pols was the sense of togetherness and belonging in the communities living there, which is often lost in our modern, current day to day lives.
Taking from the idea of the connected communities, we wanted to try to bring back a sense of connect between people through our project. 
Initial Experiments

Holding hands together creates a sense of solidarity, empathy and connection.
Our initial idea was to make an installation in a room where people would be invited to hold hands and stand together. 
Only when the circle is complete and the circuit is closed, a video projection would start playing.
Here is a scaled down prototype of our initial tries using Arduino to sense the completion of a human circuit to light a LED.
While out initial intention was to display our projects in a gallery,The Conflictorium, in Ahmedabad,
two days before the display we were informed that we were going to be taking our projects to the streets in front of the gallery! We were going to be showcasing our projects to the community in the Mirzapur area of Ahmedabad during the afternoon, which meant no lights, no videos but something much more grand or engaging.

Our audience could be anyone (though we suspected a lot of kids), but initially we weren’t sure of what everyone would relate to. 
And then it struck us, who doesn’t love bubbles!

The Conflictorium lies at a social crossroads, where atleast five different communities are situated. We weren’t sure of relations between the communities, so our installation had an experimental angle to it. 
'Bulbule' is an automatic bubble blowing machine, triggered by connection.
When the kids hold each others hands to complete the human circuit, the blower and the motor start working. This causes the set up to produce soap bubbles which continue doing so till someone lets go of their neighbour’s hand.
Setting up our experiment on the streets!
Initially, it took some time to get all the kids to understand how this machine works, but once they figured out that the key to an endless supply of bubbles was simply holding their hands, they let go of their inhibitions are really mixed up, and had fun.

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