How art, design and engineering can revitalise heritage: Manasi Prasad, Director, Indian Music Experience


In Part II of our photo essay on India’s first experiential museum on music, we showcase some more outstanding exhibits along with creative insights from the core team.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 280 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon galleryworld music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

The Indian Music Experience (IME), India’s first interactive music museum, is a vibrant music hub, providing visitors unique insights into India’s rich cultural heritage. Its founder is M.R. Jaishankar, Chairman and Managing Director of the Brigade Group.

Located within the Brigade Millennium Enclave in JP Nagar, Bengaluru, IME houses three main sections — a state-of-the-art interactive Exhibit Area, a Sound Garden, and a Learning Centre (see Part I of our photo essay here).

The exhibits feature rare and precious memorabilia belonging to Bharat Ratna musicians — Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi and MS Subbulakshmi. The artefacts of Lata Mangeshkar and Ravi Shankar are expected soon.

Land for the site was allocated in 2008, an architecture design competition was held in 2010, the building was completed in 2013, the Learning Centre was launched in 2015, the Sound Garden was inaugurated in 2017, and the museum was opened to the public in November 2018.

Subject matter experts on the curation team included musicologist Pappu Venugopala Rao, Jayant Kastuar (Kathak exponent and former secretary of Sangeet Natak Akademi), Rajiv Vijayakar (Hindi film journalist), Deepak Raja (musicologist), and Vikram Sampath (author and historian).

Though opened for the public two months ago, IME is gearing up for a grand launch and inaugural multi-genre music festival next month. “We are formalising the learning program by launching a Diploma Program starting in June 2019,” said IME Director Manasi Prasad, in a chat with YourStory. Other plans include travelling exhibitions and a mobile museum for schools and rural areas.

“Consider IME as a venue for your next album launch, rehearsal space, and workshop. Spread the word about IME in your social media, concerts and other platforms,” Manasi offers as suggestions to musicians. She herself is a Carnatic musician and IIM Bangalore alumnus.

Sponsorship at IME can help companies stand out from the glut of sponsors and have a meaningful engagement with music lovers, thus building a long-term engagement, Manasi explains. “We can curate events and provide unique experiences that are both entertaining and engaging,” she adds.

The IME is an extremely interdisciplinary experience, with learnings from the worlds of art, architecture, design, engineering, technology and sound. “If you want your students and yourself to feel inspired and gain fresh perspectives, come on over,” Manasi says to educators. IME conducts workshops on creativity, communication and collaborations through the arts, which would be great for corporate and student audiences.

“This museum is unlike any other you may have seen before - it is a 'please touch' museum and not a 'don’t touch' museum,” Manasi jokes. “Whether you are a music student, connoisseur, or even tone-deaf ‘non-musical’ person, the museum provides for different levels of engagement. You could spend half an hour or a whole day, and you will definitely find something that catches your attention,” she affirms.

“You will come away with a better appreciation of the sheer diversity of music and culture in India. The museum is not only about traditional forms of music, but covers all genres from the traditional to the contemporary,” Manasi sums up.

Some of the beautiful concepts that have come alive in the museum are the raga, taala and sruthi interactives, with expert inputs from the fields of music, software, sound engineering, and design, explains Suma Sudhindra, Outreach Director at IME.

“Our dream is to make IME the biggest cultural hub in India and knowledge centre for music and allied activities. Maybe one day it can become a deemed Music University,” Suma adds. She herself is a veena exponent and founder of the Bangalore International Arts Festival.

“Focus and serious practice are two ingredients which are a must to make you a good and successful musician. But music is no longer just performance-specific, it has also opened up allied fields for people to pursue as a profession,” Suma observes.

“This is a great time to be a musician of any sort because there are all kinds of new opportunities opening up. Digital media have disrupted the world of music as never before, putting power back in the hands of creators. I know of a lot of people who are doing amazingly creative things in the world of music and music education, and with our access to musicians and fans, and our archives and content, we are happy to help or collaborate in any way,” Manasi signs off.

Now what have you done today to explore the creative transformations around you, and find yourself while losing yourself in music?

Manasi Prasad (L), Suma Sudhindra (R)

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