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Unbox Festival 2014

These are the days to take your geeky self out for an airing

By Deepa Menon  December 6th, 2014

If you love taking things apart, getting your hands dirty and finding out what makes stuff go, register for the fourth edition of UnBox. Whatever it is that brings out your inner teacher’s pet, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in the lineup here. You can binge on Magalyaan gyan, play with wet concrete, rock out hard to a harp concert and create cocktails in the lab. There will be panel discussions, field trips, workshops and eating with strangers. But only if you’re in Delhi.

Mars Mission nerdery: Yes, the Mangalyaan was a big deal, but exactly how big a deal? What does space travel involve? What’s special about Indian spacecrafts? Who are we and why are we here? Find answers to most of these questions at a workshop with designer, TED fellow and founder of Superflux, Anab Jain.

Street drugs: They can fix everything from premature ejaculation to cancer. Medicine Corner Bar tells the story of the ‘informal doctors’ you’ll find on Indian streets and explores the burning question of whether their herbs will make good cocktails.

Hardcore eating: To encourage you to eat mindfully, share generously and seek out adventures at the table, FoodLAB at Unbox brings in top chefs, food designers and other people who think about eating a lot. This year takes you on a trail of flavours from the northeast, and hosts a communal kitchen serving makke ki roti from clay ovens and sarson ka saag, hot off firewood stoves.

Chatty design: Can your block print kurti talk to you? Professor of digital craft Justin Marshall and block-printers from Rajasthan will hold a workshop that brings the world a little closer to the freaky yet awesome possibility of interactive textiles.

Song and dance: If a performance featuring a harpist, electronica and visuals doesn’t at least intrigue you, then you’re dead inside. Harpist Gwyneth Wentnik will collaborate — a word you will hear a lot of at Unbox — with two other artists to perform other-worldly classical compositions, but if you’d rather be waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care, Crowd DJ may be more your thing. This interactive dance floor has sections hooked up to different sound channels so the crowd can control the playlist. And you have to keep going because if you stop, so does the music.

The Unbox Festival, on from December 12 to 14, is conceptualised and hosted by design studio Quicksand and the audio-visual collective BLOT!, and is supported by the British Council, the Goethe Institute and the British Arts and Humanities Research Council. Unboxfestival.com