Global music and arts festival DGTL makes its Indian debut

The acclaimed international electronic music festival came to Bengaluru, India, with artist Lola Saville leading the art installation design.

by Shraddha Nair Published on : Jan 30, 2020

For the first time, DGTL - the global music, art and sustainability festival - came down to Bengaluru, India. DGTL is an electronic music and art festival that leans on sustainable practices and systems to create a low carbon footprint wherever they go. The founder of DGTL, Gerke de Groot, said, “We invest heavily in reducing our footprint. DGTL is a fully vegetarian festival and never uses single-use plastics, for example. We always use a smart energy plan to reduce our energy usage and impact and create a resource plan to make sure that almost everything we use at the festival can be recycled or reused."

After winning the International Greener Festival award last year, their goal for 2020 is to become the first completely climate neutral event in the world. While they first started out in Amsterdam about seven years ago, on January 11 and 12 this year, they brought their stages to Lalit Ashok Hotel in Bengaluru to promote some of the biggest and best local and international artists. The artist line-up included the likes of Steven Väth, Oshana and HVOB as well as the noted names in India such as Arjun Vagale, Blot!, Kohra and Sandunes.

The Modular Stage, the biggest at the festival, which saw the likes of HVOB and Red Axes | DGTL | STIRworld
The Modular Stage, the biggest at the festival, which saw the likes of HVOB and Red Axes Image Credit: Courtesy of Fleck Media and DGTL

At the first edition of DGTL in the new decade, we saw a number of interactive visual art installations as well as the signature stage and lighting design aesthetic that they are well known for. This time around, artist Lola Saville brought her ideas to life in two large scale installations - Broken Reflections and Kaleidoscopic Waste. Saville is an English-Irish multi-disciplinary artist who dabbles in a variety of media including sculpture, installation, textile and even music. While she is currently based in Goa and Mumbai, her previous stints in London, New York and LA continue to inspire and inform her visual aesthetic. For Saville, music is a recurrent source of inspiration, making music events the perfect space for her to exhibit her artwork.

In Broken Reflections, Saville toyed with the idea of perfection versus imperfection and reality versus illusion, creating an immersive experience made from hanging reflective columns. The columns were made with normal mirror, broken mirrors, blurry mirrors and other perspective distorting mirrors. Viewers are encouraged to walk through the space and reflect on their reflections, whether normal, broken or distorted. Each column can be turned by hand, and with a different type of mirror on each facet, the experience can be continuously changed and customised. This perspective-altering installation was an exciting and disorienting walk-through.

Broken Reflections, a walk-through installation by Lola Saville | DGTL | STIRworld
Broken Reflections, a walk-through installation by Lola Saville Image Credit: Courtesy of Fleck Media and DGTL

Kaleidoscopic Waste was Saville’s response to the massive waste crisis we face today. For her, the kaleidoscope is reminiscent of her childhood, a motif that brings back a wave of nostalgia for us all. Her fascination with symmetry, geometry and reflections made the kaleidoscope a natural extension of her process. She said, “I wanted to also question, what happens to the things we break and have no use anymore? Do they have a place to transform into something else, or are they now just waste? And what will we do with this waste? For this, I decided to use e-waste as the elements inside my kaleidoscope. What with us being in India’s tech capital, and the festival being called DGTL, it made sense. Also, these things that are now waste, have an element of beauty that is taken away the minute they become waste. So, by giving them another life, maybe we can start to find more beauty in unassuming objects? And perhaps create less waste, by finding other uses for things deemed ‘broken’.” This eight-foot long installation was constructed using recycled metal barrels, recycled metal, plexi-glass and e-waste.

  • Festival goers peer into the giant kaleidoscope | DGTL | STIRworld
    Festival goers peer into the giant kaleidoscope Image Credit: Courtesy of Fleck Media and DGTL
  • Lola Saville’s Kaleidoscopic Waste at DGTL 2020 | DGTL | STIRworld
    Lola Saville’s Kaleidoscopic Waste at DGTL 2020 Image Credit: Courtesy of Fleck Media and DGTL

DGTL has taken place in Amsterdam, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Barcelona and more cultural hubs across the world. De Groot tells us more about why such a massive international festival chose Bengaluru as its destination, “When we choose a new city to go to, it is super important that we find a strong local team that understands and values our concept and wants to bring it to life in their country. We also need to find a perfect location that fits all our needs, and of course, there needs to be a very enthusiastic audience. We are super confident that Bengaluru has all the ingredients to be the perfect new home for DGTL!” With four stages, brilliant lighting and stage design in their iconic, recognisable style, this festival was definitely one for the books.

Sven Vath at the Generator Stage | DGTL | STIRworld
Sven Vath at the Generator Stage Image Credit: Courtesy of Fleck media and DGTL

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About Author

Shraddha Nair

Shraddha Nair

Nair is a writer and curator based in Bengaluru, India. Her curatorial practice is a method by which she negotiates with and navigates the complexities of human behaviour, an interest which flows into her writing as well. She believes that art and collective experience hold immense capacity in the cultivation and development of action and emotion.

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