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Forces of Nature! At India Art Fair 2024, Apple iPads and Macs help artists breathe life into their work

At the India Art Fair 2024, four multidisciplinary artists helped create immersive digital projects with iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, as they conducted the ‘Today at Apple’ sessions. As was clearly evident, there was no shortage of creativity and what was amazing to see was the way technology helped bring everything to life in vivid detail in South Mumbai. Meet the chief protagonists now!

Aaron “Myles” Pereira and Ameya Shinde. While Pereira is a product engineer at Animal Factory (also a multidisciplinary artist, musician, and live performer), Shinde is a designer at Studio BigFat. They are both digital artists in residence at the India Art Fair 2024, along with Dhruv Jani and Sadhna Prasad.

The responsibility was on them not just to present their creations, but also conduct the ‘Today at Apple’ sessions where attendees used iPads to create artworks inspired by the artists’ practices.

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What is ‘Today at Apple’ program

This is a global program offering free sessions that assist customers in showcasing their creativity and making the most of their devices. These events are hosted at Apple Store locations all over the world, including Apple BKC and Apple Saket.

Aaron “Myles” Pereira and Ameya Shinde

The theme for this year is “Forces of Nature.” In response, Pereira and Shinde rolled out what they referred to as ‘Ornithoscope’. Created through MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, the immersive audiovisual experience lets the audience explore changes in India’s avian biodiversity over the last 15 years.

So, what does Pereira prefer? Well, he designs interactive soundscapes, working with Ableton Live and Logic Pro X for music production and audio engineering.

Then there is Shinde, a trained visual artist who finds inspiration in people and places. He honed his skills on the streets of Mumbai and considers Apple Pencil and iPad Pro to be essential travelling companions.

On what got them into the mood to pick this specific subject, Shinde concurs with Pereira while saying, “We want to draw attention to the fact that our natural world is getting quieter all the time.”

So, what was the end result of their collaboration? Their installation looks simple at first — an iPad Pro and projection screen surrounded by six speakers. However, 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 both collaborative and separate. 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

Writer and artist Dhruv Jani installation takes viewers miles below Earth’s crust. It is a video game 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, founder of Studio Oleomingus, works 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 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

Sadhna Prasad, a muralist and illustrator, anchors audiences firmly in the present. “My project is called I’ll Be Back,” says Prasad and adds, “I want my audience to visit the world I create.”

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

She laments the indiscriminate urbanisation she sees all around Mumbai: “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,” she added

‘Today at Apple’ at the India Art Fair: How these four artists will power the event

Work by this year’s digital artists in residence will be on display at the Digital Residency Hub within the ‘The Studio’. They 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.

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Source: tech.hindustantimes.com

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