Art and technology

I am watching The Billion Dollar Code, a 2021 German television miniseries on Netflix, and it struck me that art and technology are interconnected. Terravision, the purported precursor of Google Earth was conceived as an art project. The team funded by Deutsche Telekom consisted of more artistic than technical people.

In episode 2, when Juri Müller conceptualizes the future of Terravision, an algorithm that ties together satellite images of the Earth, he says, “now it is empty, only form. But what happens if we fill it with content?” He elaborates, “If you fill Terravision with content, it would become a portal to a database with the knowledge of the whole world.” The leading duo goes on to speak about virtual reality.

I cannot but smile at the use of the keywords – content, database, knowledge, portals. Technology is potent but it is just a shell that needs to be filled with the right content and marketing to explore its full potential. A code can be written and a graphical element designed only after an idea is conceived. Ideas and thoughts are a part of the creative mental process involving intuition, inspiration, logic, reasoning, research, and imagination, which are eventually expressed on the drawing board. This expression is art!

The soul of technology is art. Without aesthetics, technology may not touch human lives. We want slim Smart TVs, foldable devices, colored straps for smartwatches, and a touch of beauty and style in all of our technology-enhanced lives. Innovation is a popular keyword in technology and engineering organizations. Being innovative is being creative and every innovation starts with art and creativity.

As a technical communicator, I find myself at the intersection of art and technology; creativity and code. It is the byline that describes everything I strive for in my professional life. I want to see and bring out the soulful side of technology, through relevant content that connects people with their devices. I am a creative person who believes in the future of technology, and for me, art and technology are inseparable.

Book Review: Like the Radiant Sun

Like the Radiant Sun

Book: Like the Radiant Sun

Author: Anu Kay

Genre: Mythology, Magical Realism, Fiction

Review Copy: Himalayan Book Club

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read!

Anu Kay’s novel, Like the Radiant Sun, is an engaging tale spanning a plethora of themes. It is a thriller full of suspense with the mild aroma of a romance playing out in the foreground of a mystical, mythological drama. It has the feel of a Bollywood movie and the enticement of a well-researched and rendered novel. 

Is it destined or planned that a precious, ancient text lands in the hands of an archaeologist, Rohan Sharma? He is just the man to appreciate, interpret, and preserve the words, outlining a rare discipline of combat with esoteric origins. But is he also the man who embodies the physical and mental prowess to outsmart the baddies desperate to lay their hands on the Marma Kala, an ancient manuscript on martial arts?

In the background of this intellectual pursuit lurks a gruesome mystery of a dead priest and a woman in dreadlocks. On this premise, the writer builds a fascinating story oft intercepted by quotes and passages from ancient Indian texts. The book has a fast pace and yet finds space for some attractive imagery, such as, “With cracks of thunder, rain followed like a torrent, whipping up the angry waters of the river.”

Mysterious people across some significant places in India – Varanasi, New Delhi, Kerala, and the revered Mount Kailash – pursue the protagonist. The writer brings out the mesmerizing charm and history of these places. She calls Varanasi, “a magnificent amphitheater of a bygone era.” She draws up pictures with words. For example, there is a scene of a person draped in a red shawl, spurring his black horse through the hills of a spice plantation, as dark clouds loomed.

There is occult, bloodshed, suspicious characters, and a narrative that keeps you on the edge. References to mystical symbols, seals, ancient arts and medicine, and mythological tales embellish the story. When you are reading fiction but bookmark items for further research, the writer has successfully captured your attention.

The language is polished and carefully edited, which makes the reading smooth. The characters are well-fleshed out. Their backgrounds are well-enunciated to make it easier to grasp their intentions. The book cover art speaks to the theme of the book and outlines a significant character. I felt the book title could have been more imaginative and alluring. As a lover of historical and mystical stories, Anu Kay’s work provides me with a fine piece of fresh and engaging literature that truly brings out the charm of our Indian heritage.


Book Review: Bloodstone: Legend of the Last Engraving

The book brings forth deep research and impeccable imagination. The author’s personal experiences come alive in descriptions of the Kamakhya temple rituals and the religious fervor during the autumn worship of the Goddess. The exotic yet demanding terrain of the hills of Nepal is the backdrop of the tale of a simple village couple that breaks free of the shackles of matriarchy to redefine their fate. It is the story of motherhood – earthly and divine – always alive in mythology, legends, but most importantly in human faith.

Bloodstone

Book: Bloodstone: Legend of the Last Engraving

Author: Rashmi Narzary

Genre: Mythology, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Review Copy: Himalayan Book Club

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Loved it!

Author Rashmi Narzary entwines the fascinating customs of the Kamakhya temple in the Nilachal hills of Assam, India, with the spectacular tradition of the Kumari Goddess in Tilibham, Nepal. In a fictional story that blends mythology and history, legends and existing beliefs, she creates an intriguing narrative centered around the Mother Goddess in South Asian culture. Across the snowy climes of Tilibham, a story blossoms out of loss and yearning, and like any tale of utmost passion and longing, it stretches beyond time and space to remind of the power of sadness to change destinies. The plot arc curves over this canvas. Conflict brims even after 3/4rth of the narration. Anticipation of the resolution makes the book unputdownable.

The book brings forth deep research and impeccable imagination. The author’s personal experiences come alive in descriptions of the Kamakhya temple rituals and the religious fervor during the autumn worship of the Goddess. The exotic yet demanding terrain of the hills of Nepal is the backdrop of the tale of a simple village couple that breaks free of the shackles of matriarchy to redefine their fate. It is the story of motherhood – earthly and divine – always alive in mythology, legends, but most importantly, in human faith.

Is this book prophetic? Read what the author thinks.

BLoodSTONE: LEGEND OF THE LAST ENGRAVING

It is also the story of love that transcends eons – of God Shiva, who mourns his beloved Sati and a Goddess, who must be reborn to fulfill the yearning of divine lovers. The book will make you crave more. Like me, you may seek more information on the traditions so exquisitely detailed. Divinity dwells in humanity that incessantly seeks it out; humanity survives in a deep faith in this power of the esoteric.

As a reader, I was mesmerized by the story. As an editor, I found the book lacking. It starts with repetitive text and descriptions that can be discouraging. After initial reluctance, one forges ahead into the enticing landscape of a wondrous story. The script demands a thorough edit as the repetitive information is distracting. The book would have sparkled with a crisp and concise approach, leaving more for the reader to imagine and savor, long after, the legend of the bloodstone reveals itself.

Book Review: Monet & Oscar

A young American, the son of an accomplished landscape designer in San Francisco, returns to his country of birth to fight for France during World War I. Recovering from battle scars after the war, he finds himself in the employment of none other than Claude Monet. From here begins an enthralling tale of history, flirtations, love, passion, art, and personal quest.A young American, the son of an accomplished landscape designer in San Francisco, returns to his country of birth to fight for France during World War I. Recovering from battle scars after the war, he finds himself in the employment of none other than Claude Monet. From here begins an enthralling tale of history, flirtations, love, passion, art, and personal quest.

Book: Monet & Oscar: The Essence of Light 

Author: Joe Byrd

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama, Romance, Fiction

Review Copy: Reedsy

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read!

A young American, the son of an accomplished landscape designer in San Francisco, returns to his country of birth to fight for France during World War I. Recovering from battle scars after the war, he finds himself in the employment of none other than Claude Monet. From here begins an enthralling tale of history, flirtations, love, passion, art, and questionable past choices.

A pot-pourri of references to American, Japanese, and French culture merge in a storyline that navigates the life of Monet and Oscar. Japanese wood blocking, landscaping, gardening, Impressionist art to Monet’s illustrious life as a painter, Joe Byrd has written an enchanting historical fiction. The author’s passion for the subject and meticulous research of 30 years gleam through engrossing narration.

The reader must sit back and relish the charms of the cobbled roads along the Seinne, Vernon, Lyon, and Giverny, the fresh sea air, the architecture, the train rides, the walks and picnics, the nostalgia, references to French couture, and the delicate as well as exquisite culinary delights of the time. Monet’s garden is described as “…the best private Garden in France, perhaps in all of Europe.” Amidst all this beauty, we have a young man brimming with questions and an aged, sometimes “gruff” and “grouchy” artist on a journey of reminiscence. 

The book offers insight into people, their hardships, but most importantly about relationships that evolve amidst eccentricities and awkwardness. The characters have a connection that runs far back than they have personally known each other. Intrigue and questions fill the pages. Even halfway through, the conflict and the suspense do not become blunt. Oscar’s passionate liaison with a young lady has a Mills and Boons feel to it. 

I am glad to read this book and recommend it to all lovers of historical fiction and Impressionist art. It reminded me of another of my favorite historical fiction – Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. The chapters flow seamlessly, introducing new characters, adding layers to a fascinating tale, intercepted only by the evocation of picturesque surroundings and the confusion and pining of a lonely, young man. Drama, romance, mystery; you have it all in a well-edited book with eloquent prose. Sample this – “The stalks were months from bowing their heavy heads with the weight of golden grains of harvest time.” Want to read more? Grab your copy.

The Creative Mind

It all starts with a vision – be it a venture, a painted artwork, a sheaf of writing – and many a times across time and space they converge. A delayed monsoon made me crave the soul nourishment of the rains and I rummaged through some of my micro-verses looking for succour. I came across two previously written poems to feature on my blog.

Yesterday, like everyday, I was browsing through The Special Mom – Samavesh, a wonderful group created by dear friend, Kreeti. A post by Joyashree, caught my eye. It was a painting by her 12-year old son, Shreyan, His art was complementing the verses I had dug out from my archives.

I reached out to Joyashree and shared how beautiful the artwork was and the words I had written. As we chatted, I got to see another brilliant piece on the theme of boats and stormy skies by Shreyan. It was touching.

In absolute awe and delight at the acrylic painting on paper, I am sharing two of Shreyan’s pieces here with his mother’s permission. Joyashree says, a fun-loving adolescent, Shreyan loves to paint water bodies and shapes.

The little boy

Floats a paper boat

In a puddle on the road

To him it is the ocean

He on a voyage aboard

Musings by ANEESHA SHEWANI

Rain-filled clouds

Like cotton glaze

On a summer sky

The sun playing

Hide and seek

A silver lining here

A rainbow bridge there

MuSINGS BY ANEESHA SHEWANI

Acrylic on Paper by Shreyan Chakraborty (12 years old)


What is most inspiring about this artwork is that Shreyan is a special child, having been diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 years. Painting is his refuge and voice. He is expressing his vision of beauty and adoration for nature. We catch a glimpse of his beautiful mind and soul through his artwork.

Shreyan is one of the many whose creativity has found a platform on Samavesh (Inclusion). Kreeti has put her full force and compassion behind this amazing group of pure souls, who bring so much joy through their pursuit of creativity. I have seen intricately designed jewelry, clay work, and renditions of music and dance on this platform.

The profile of Samavesh says, “Let’s change the narrative, celebrate and showcase their talents and brilliance, and not their challenges.” Challenges, however, are a part of life and here is a shout out to all the lovely parents who are helping their children overcome everyday hurdles – one hug, one encouraging word at a time. Thank you, Joyashree, for bringing brushes and paints to Shreyan to brighten our world.

To learn more about collaborating with Samavesh and endorsing the work of these children, you can write to: contact@thespecialmom.org

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