Fields of View

Project 560
2018-2019

Grant Period: One year

Principal Investigator: Bharath M Palavalli 

Fields of View is a not-for-profit organisation based in Bangalore which designs artefacts such as games and simulations to enable better public policy. They are an interdisciplinary team, with experts across arts, social sciences, technology, and film. They partner with academia, civil society, industry and the government to explore and understand cities better. They focus on designing games that help foster healthy and informed debate in policymaking and communicate with diverse audiences. They have been recognised as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research under the Scheme on Recognition of Scientific and Industrial Research Organisations (SIROs), 1998. They have been featured in the ‘Global Go To Think Tank Index Report’ by the University of Pennsylvania that ranks public policy research organisations worldwide in the ‘Best New Idea or Paradigm developed by a Think Tank’ category, for the fifth consecutive year. Bharath M. Palavalli, who studied at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore and is an Ashoka Fellow, will be the authorised signatory for the project.

Bangalore became the poster child for urbanisation in India of the post-liberalisation era and has been frequently called the ‘Silicon Valley of India’. The presence of multiple science and technology institutions put the city at the forefront of imagining the future. But the city often stumbles on the crises of urbanisation, a wave that started in the nineties, which transformed the quaint pensioners’ paradise into a busy global hub. To many of its old residents the change has not been a pleasant one. The city faces severe issues of environment, infrastructure, water supply, traffic and waste management among others. All of these issues need interventions through multipronged approaches at the grassroots as well as the policy level. From its inception Fields of View has worked rigorously to explore citizen’s meaningful participations in policymaking processes. For Project 560 they propose to build on their experience of working with the city and build a game that will engage diverse sets of audiences to narrate different stories of the city through a game-play. They want to explore these multiple tales of Bangalore narrated by people from different backgrounds, perspectives, disciplines, and ages, among other demographics.

For this project they are building a physical game that will engage up to 50 people in each session. The game can be played in a physical space, like a park, a community hall, or a playground. The structure of the game will be a bricolage - put together using a diverse set of available things. Together the players will create this structure that is a narrative of the city constructed by people. The form of the game would allow for dynamic interactions between the players. As diversity is a key focus of the project, they aim to engage different groups of people from various social, economic, linguistic backgrounds and present the game-play sessions in various public spaces in the city. They are in discussion with a range of civil society groups, government and academic institutions as well as corporate agencies to ensure this. They will conduct two to three test sessions followed by six curated play sessions, with different audiences. They will also design a persistent artefact, along with the game. This will be created out of the cumulative outcomes of every game session. The participants will see the aggregated effect of the stories through this.

One of the observations on the past two editions of Project 560 was that projects were more invested in the past and history of the city and there was a peculiar silence about its present and future. This project is forward thinking in its form and content enabling visions of possible imagines futures for the city. Games are becoming a tool of choice for many organisations now to involve people in complicated concepts and building cohesive processes. And this project intends to do so, in an environment where Bangalore is facing decreasing participation of its citizens in democratic processes like elections. The accumulated narratives showcased on the persistent artefact will serve as a point of discussion and foregrounds the multiplicity of narratives of the city. They will conduct six game sessions as outcomes of the project in various public places like parks, community halls, or playgrounds in Bangalore and create a persistent artefact that will collate multiple narratives of the city. The Grantee's deliverables to IFA with the final report will be documentation of the project, photographs, video compilation of the game sessions and game schematics. Their plans are well worked out and the budget is sufficient.