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A Guide To All The Art And Experiences At Magnetic Fields 2016

It might seem counterintuitive to say this, but a festival experience is never just about the music, nor is it meant to be. This is particularly true for festivals like Magnetic Fields – residential, destination events that run morning and night for days together. You’re immersed in an atmosphere that’s created for you, surrounded not just by sound by spectacles that engage all your senses.

It’s an all-encompassing three-day experience of community and art. The festival has more installations and art, more food and more interactions and experiences than ever before.

Most of the art at the festival will centre around our theme this year – navigation. If you’ve paid attention, you might have noticed that the Mag Fields symbol itself is that of an 8 pointed rose-compass, and exploration and the spirit of adventure has always been at the heart of the festival.

Here’s the a-z to all the non-music activities at the festival. Of course if you’re curious about the lineup you can also check out our comprehensive guide to the music at Magnetic Fields here.


A perennial favourite at the festival, morning yoga with Prachi Gangwani will be taking place once more on Saturday and Sunday morning at 11am. Come stretch out those achy knots and prep your body for another day of dancing till dawn.

Magnetic Fields won’t be the festival we know it to be without its resident, expert stargazers. Join them on the palace rooftops and see how many constellations you can count and how many starts, planets and galaxies you can identify in the clear desert night skies. Remember, the festival coincides with the Geminid meteor showers so keep an eye out to catch the annual celestial spectacle.

Hang Therapy
If you’ve ever heard the hang drum, you’d know that it produces one of the most meditative, ethereal sounds out there. Hang therapy takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 12.30 to 3pm, so make sure you’re present.

Surat based design studio Shed will be creating a little game room in one of our courtyards with their custom-made wooden connecting beads and stretched canvas. Inside will be three intricately designed board games you can try your hand at if you’re looking for mental stimulation and a bit of respite from the dancefloor.

Toko Mehndi
Josje Schuling’s exquisite mehndi designs make a reappearance at the festival after last year, where she decked out our guests with geometric and tribal influenced henna tattoos.

Tile + Mirror
Join Kaytani Jaswal and Anushka Roy on Saturday and Sunday morning at the Bedouin campsite and help them create a tile and mirror installation that combines the ancient and the modern by reinventing one of our most ancient tools – the compass, in an 8-bit, pixellated format.

SpaceFace by Rosario
No need to fret about keeping up festival appearance. MUA to the stars Rosario Belmonte will get you all dolled-up with special Magnetic Fields inspired makeovers.

Aurl presents Lightscape – an interactive visual art installation that flashes motion-triggered light patterns as you pass through it, immersing you in light and colour.

Neil Enggist and Nilaya Sabnis make up the two halves of N+N. One’s a dancer who puts a modern spin on her classical Bharatnatyam training, and the other is a live-action process painter who captures her movement on spot. It’s a symphony of a different kind.

Vaayu Vision Collective
Goa collective Vaayu Vision deck out the local school in Alsisar by draping its walls with vibrant colour and art specially designed for the festival.

Nappa Dori Treasure Hunt
If you’ve been to the festival before you know this is one of our most popular interactions. All you need to do is take part, be enthusiastic and get those little grey cells working. The hidden treasure includes some exclusive Nappa Dori goodies and a free ride for the next festival.

This is one we’re really excited for - Miraरी is an interactive installation that gives you the illusion of being on the inside of a kaleidoscope. Essentially a tunnel made of light and mirrors, the project is a creation of Arghadeep Sarma, Ankush Misra and Ankit Tatiya, in association with Makers Asylum. This is going to be one-of-a-kind.

Chancellor Of Heaven
The Chancellor Of Heaven places a metal Metraton Cube on the inside of a room flooded with coloured light that bounces off it and reflects on the wall. Don’t miss the chance to see it and play with light and shadow in the desert.

Pulse and Bloom
The award winning and much talked about project by artist Shilo Shiv Suleman, Pulse and Bloom creates a surreal oasis-Eden among the dues with 10 massive metal lotus’ that use biofeedback technology to read participants’ heartbeats and beat rhythmically with light. We guarantee that you’ve never seen anything like it before.

Joining in all the contemporary music at Alsisar Mahal are a group of people who understand and can convey its history, culture and ethos better than anyone else. The Manganiars are highly skilled folk musicians of the Thar desert, who will be performing at 6pm on Friday and Saturday.

Beyond Within
Virtual Reality is a phrase and concept that’s on everyone’s lips at the moment. We couldn’t be more eager to experience the activation by Spryk and Tessellate, which aims to overwhelm its viewers with an exploration of what exists beyond our skies in the universe, and within ourselves as creatures made up of minute particles and atoms.

Magnetic Words

Débuting for the first time at the festival, Magnetic Words is a new, engaging activation that takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 3-6pm in the palace dungeons and puts words at its nucleus.

Curated by experienced writer and journalist Rebecca Hobson, Magnetic Words invites some of the country’s foremost writers, journalists and artists to share their opinions and stories with festival-goers.

Speakers include celebrated historian and author Willian Dalrymple, who will be talking about his new book about the Kohinoor Diamond with award winning journalist Anita Anand, singer, songwriter, actor and artist Monica Dogra who discusses intimacy in the digital age, stand up comedian and writer Radhika Vaz who brings a bit of sharp wit and humour to the stage and prolific journalist and co-founder of theWire.in Raghu Karnad who will discuss his piece ‘How To Kill A Hundred Men And How To Live With It’.

Perfumer Jahnvi Dameron Nandan rethinks the way we think of the sense of smell, as Janice Pariat considers and reads an excerpt from her book ‘The Pilgrimage’. Director of Engendered Dance Festival Myna Mukherjee discusses her cultural influences performing around the world, TV reporter and journalist Constantin Simon dives head first into the chaos of the Kumbh Mela in ‘Welcome To Gonzo Guru Land’.

Shilo Shiv Suleman, the mind behind Pulse and Bloom will be talking about her project ‘The Fearless Collective’, scientist and mathematician Compasswallah takes you through the journey and history of navigation in ‘The Star Behind The Lighthouse’. Finally, the infamous Dentist will read from his upcoming novel – ‘A Series Of Small Adjustments’


If there’s one complaint we have about the food at Mag Fields this year, it's that we’re spoilt for choice.

They’ve catered to every palette imaginable this year and provide a good balance of comfort food, decadent treats and nutrition – and you’ll need all that to make it awake and energy charged.

Wok me will be serving an array of Asian street food, iconic Delhi pizza joint Fat Lulu’s will be cooking up some of their famous New York style pies, Big Fat Sandwich will be bringing (you guessed it) some hearty sandwiches (served with a side of fries, how dare anyone suggest otherwise). And don’t worry, the Delhi Chutney Company will be catering to all your butter chicken and kebab needs.


Before we end, a few pointers, recommendations and Dos & Don’ts before you pack your bags and set off.

We say this every year and we’re going to say it again – be warm! Alsisar lies at the heart of the Rajasthani desert, so while the days are still comfortable and sunny, night temperatures can drop to single digits, so bring a jacket. We will be providing all the necessary bedding for those of you staying in the Bedouin village, but we suggest you still bringing something extra to wrap yourself in.

Remember, no weapons, firearms or narcotics on site – we’re not that kind of festival. Don’t litter, don’t use the pool, don’t forget your friends and most importantly, do not trust the dentist. We have small lockers on site for essentials and valuables but anything else should be kept under lock and key – or better yet, left at home.

Other than that, have fun, be good to your neighbours, eat well, stay hydrated, meet our stargazers, try and wake up on time for yoga and see all the art. Get hyped for an unforgettable weekend that you’ll never get to experience anywhere else.

Words: Diya Gupta
Image credit (main): Shilo Shiv Suleman

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07 December 2016