Durga: Gautam Rangan

Curator: Matt Checkowski
date: September 28, 2012
Categories: Environmental Graphic Design, Experience Design, Illustration
Tags: installation, interface, storytelling
Gautam Rangan, Durga installation

The interactive installation by Gautam Rangan retells the story of Durga Mahisasura Mardini, a Hindu goddess. The rotating canvas is an interface that reveals the two different versions of the story. When rotated counterclockwise, the wheel tells the story of Durga and Mahisha fighting one another. When rotated clockwise, the story transforms—and Durga and Mahisha fall in love.

I love the dynamic of the rotating interface as the controlling element of the narrative. It’s not just intuitive: There’s something magical about how your own action draws you deeper into the story. It’s a great example of how a well done interface can act as an on-ramp to narrative immersion, especially in this case, where the two directions of the interface reveal two versions of the same characters. The interface serves as a character development device that draws out even more investment from the audience.

Gautam Rangan, Durga installation

Installation view of Durga

Sketch for Durga

Sketch for Durga

Finally, what I think really makes this piece exceptional is the way in which it weaves all the parts into a whole that sings. The illustration is gorgeous, the contrast of the ink on canvas and the projected animation really pops and the interactive experience is seamless.
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