Interactive Cultural Landscape of Burhwal village in Rohtas, Bihar



Last days I have been designing an interactive cultural landscape of Burhwal village in Rohtas (Bihar). It will have all the audio/visual content that was created with my encounter with the community. As I lived with them, celebrating their folk traditions and assisting in its transmission through the camera, I realised that merely documenting for digital archives that are inaccessible to the community is useless. I want to be redundant in this process and the archive should be owned by the community. If there is anything called ‘preservation’ then it has to be through innovation. With the mobile technology slowly becoming popular in rural areas, I believe that could be a digital home for the people of Burhwal in this vast world wide web. Irrespective of their gender/caste, its a platform for all.

Being there, I met some of the young people who showed me a short film that they made on their mobile. It was absolutely brilliant how they had managed to put fighting sound effects and also make the whole film from the mobile. They struggle with finding stories to make videos, they told me. As people begin to share their own videos on the website, we will begin to understand that folklore (intangible heritage) is always evolving. We will have to wait and see how the rural youth engages with mobile technology, when they understand that they are sitting on a goldmine (stories, ballads, songs, expressions). This website should take this further.

The next step is to create marketing material (posters, stickers) and send it to the community, inviting them to use the website, watch videos, share videos and discuss in the forum.

The upcoming SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore) congress in Germany has invited us to present this project (website) in their panel ‘Dwelling in the virtual space’ on digital approaches and archival practices. Here’s about that:

Rajat Nayyar (Founder, Espírito Kashi)

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