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Speak in 3D – mumbai guide


Until last year, it was possible to head to Jio Gardens in BKC to listen to soul-stirring spoken word pieces, snap in unison as unabashed voices took the stage, and soak in rhythmic poetry and performances at the Spoken Fest. Now, the minds behind this popular event are recreating those experiences in a new digital avatar called Spoken Reunion 2020.

The full-fledged 3D multi-sensory digital experience pieced together by artistes’ collective, Kommune, in collaboration with Geometry Encompass, Pro.di.gi and Atthah, will use stellar technology to allow the attendees to walk through an environment that replicates its on-ground spoken events. Attendees can sign up for live workshops, watch artistes perform on a 3D stage, play games, create custom filters and even connect with fellow attendees in conversation booths.

The Mehfil segment in the 3D festival
The Mehfil segment in the 3D festival

Roshan Abbas, its founder, who will be hosting the event alongside television presenter Gaurav Kapur, shares, “When creators and technology meet is when great things happen. If you were to distil the elements of what makes a physical spoken word event unique, intimacy would top the chart. And so we had to come up with a solution that would provide intimacy at scale to every participant.” The idea is to give attendees a feel that the festival is just for them, while also allowing them to connect with others and experience the pride of being part of a tribe. Abbas reveals that every element, right from the stage to the colour of the sky, was detailed by the team. “You see yourself walking through the environment and you’re not alone. Those who sign up with their photographs can also see avatars of other people walking around. A unique practice at the fest instead of clapping or shouting is snapping, which we have incorporated in a button,” he adds. You can even choose the sound of your snapping in three variations when you register.

Rishan Abbas
Roshan Abbas

At the virtual conversation booths, attendees can chat with strangers, but to ensure that it is a safe space, they have added the feature of reporting and throwing troublemakers out too. Another cool sneakpeek that Abbas reveals will be the Gully, where you can watch Kommune’s most-loved pre-recorded performances. “When you walk through the gully, it’s like you’re down Diagon Alley,” he says, referring to the famous alley in the Harry Potter series.

The avatar creation feature will let the attendees click photos at the festival. It will also be used by the organisers to create personalised after-movies for each attendee at the end of the festival to relive their favourite memories.

Sheena Khalid
Sheena Khalid

Theatrewallah Sheena Khalid who will be hosting a workshop on performances in the virtual world, is excited after seeing the previews: “It is unlike anything I have been part of in the virtual performance space. It goes beyond online performance. The online medium is here to stay for a while and artistes have to use this time to learn to perform virtually and cultivate their audiences. My workshop will take them through the skills they need to do this.”

The line-up of artistes includes top names like Jasmine Khurana, Rakesh Tiwari, Megha Rao, Sriti Jha, Mariyam Saigal, Shubham Negi, Kaushiki Saraswat, Yashna Arora and Ankur Tewari, among others.

Ankur Tewari
Ankur Tewari

Tewari who will also be headlining the Mehfil segment with his music, shares, “This fest is close to our hearts. It’s not just about the performances, but the maahol or ambience of the place, which we have recreated virtually. It is the Kumbh Mela of poetry, music and stories. The few times I have been on their stage and experienced thousands of people snapping, it felt like I was floating on the ocean. Both the performers and the attendees equally contribute to making the experience magical,” he signs off.

While your phone screen will certainly make this virtual festival an intimate experience to cherish, we suggest you grab a beer, some comfort food and cast it on your TV to deep dive into an evening of live acts, soulful poetry, moving words and lilting music.

On Tomorrow, 5 pm onwards
Log on to spoken-reunion.kommuneity.com/registration.php

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