Panel Discussion

Light It Up!

2024-04-21 23:38:30

Rucha Vibhute, Harshit Agrawal, Pierre Caessa

Light It Up!


February 23, 2024    
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Bookings closed


Mazumdar-Shaw auditorium
22, Kasturba Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar , Bengaluru, Karnataka, 560001
Map Unavailable

Collage of matchbox labels from Gautam Hemmady’s collection

What’s in a label? Matchbox labels, or covers from different time periods in India have different stories to tell. These labels used to be prominent agents for advertising and manufacturers commissioned special designs for their covers. Join us as we delve into a unique collection of matchboxes and talk about the relevance of matchboxes as art, its histories and contemporary reimaginings through playful technological engagements.

In 2023 Google Arts & Culture Lab collaborated with artist Harshit Agarwal to look at matchbox labels as part of a digital residency. During the residency he addressed the question of how emerging technologies can help showcase the unique beauty, stories, visual language and history of Indian cultural artefacts, Harshit worked on an interactive experiment to think about matchboxes as art and its current relevance in pop culture. The playful experiment invites us to journey through India’s bazaars through an interactive story that aims to celebrate Indian cultural heritage.

In this session we will delve into how gamification and play can present new perspectives and engage audiences with Indian cultural heritage and artefacts in new and interesting ways. Rucha Vibhute from the MAP team, artist Harshit Agrawal, and Pierre Caessa from Google Arts and Culture Lab will explore this idea further. During the session we will also premiere The Many Interrupted Dreams of Mr. Hemmady, a short film that Amit Dutta has made based on the collection.

MAP received matchboxes from Delhi-based architect Gautam Hemmady, who has been collecting matchbox labels since 2012. Hemmady donated around 35,000 matchbox-related objects to MAP. Among these are unique matchbox labels, packet and gross labels for cardboard, and plastic and wooden matchboxes manufactured in India as well as abroad. There are a wide range of themes that are explored in this collection, such as advertising, nationalism, mythology, cinema, royalty to name a few, spanning from the mid-19th century to the present day.


Bookings are closed for this event.

Harshit Agrawal


Harshit is an Indian artist working with emerging technologies, primarily artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D printing. His practice is centred around the theme of exploring the poetics of technology in our already posthuman existence. He is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab (USA) and IIT Guwahati and has carried out residencies at the Museum of Tomorrow (Brazil), Art Center Nabi (Korea), X- Lab (Japan) and Google Arts and Culture (France). He has authored several publications and patents about his work at the intersection of human computer interaction and creative expression.

Harshit has been working in the space of AI and Art for nearly a decade. He was the only Indian artist, among 7 international AI art pioneers at the first global exhibition of AI Art in a contemporary gallery (at Nature Morte Gallery in 2018). He held India’s First Solo Exhibition of AI Art at the Emami Art Gallery in Kolkata in September 2021. His work has been nominated twice for the top tech art prize, among the top 3% of all global tech art works for the Lumen Prize. His work is part of the permanent exhibition at the largest computer science museum in the world, HNF museum in Germany. He has exhibited work at several premier museums, galleries and art festivals around the world, like the Ars Electronica Festival (Austria), Asia Culture Center (Gwangju Korea), Tate Modern (UK), Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino (Italy), Artissima Art Fair (Italy), India Art Fair (India), India Habitat Center (India), Highline Nine Gallery (New York), Times Square (New York), Museum of Tomorrow (Brazil), QUT Art Museum (Australia), Kampüste Dijital Sanat (Turkey), Art-AI Festival (UK), Augmenting Creativity Exhibition (China), The Upside Space NFT platform, among others. He is the first Indian artist to exhibit his works as NFTs at the premier curated NFT platform Superrare. He curated India’s first AI NFT exhibition – Intertwined Intelligences with 6 global AI artists (including his works) at the platform.

He has given several talks about A.I and Art, including TEDx and INK Talks. His work has been extensively covered in international media, including BBC, New York Times, Artnet, STIR World.

Pierre Caessa

Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture Lab

Pierre Caessa is Program Manager at Google Arts & Culture Lab since it opened in 2013. The Lab, located in Paris, is a place where tech and creative communities come together to share ideas and discover new ways to experience art and culture. 

Pierre graduated with a degree in Politics from Sciences Po Lille, and completed a Masters of Science in Media, Art & Creation at HEC Paris. 

He previously worked at Philharmonie de Paris and Universal Music France.

Rucha Vibhute

Senior Archivist, MAP

Rucha is a member of the Collections department at the Museum of Art and Photography in Bangalore, India. She has a bachelor’s degree from the College of Fine Arts, Bangalore, India, and a master’s degree in Arts and Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India. She is very interested by the context in which artworks are produced, as well as social history and the philosophy of art.

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