The Amsterdam India Festival was held from 12 until 30 November 2008 on more than 20 locations in Amsterdam. Waag organized City Ragas, a locative game played simultaneously around the Nieuwmarkt square in Amsterdam and in Delhi, India.
Theme of the festival was Blended Cultures, pointing at the diversity of cultures living in India, but also can be found in Amsterdam. During the weekends of November, people participated in the City Ragas game. Ragas is Sanskrit and means '(city)moods and/or colours'. City Ragas was a cultural exchange in which people of Amsterdam and Delhi were directly linked with each other through mobile phones with three themes.
A cultural dialogue by means of a game, which was played in Amsterdam and Delhi simultaneously. Participants went on exploration with mobile phones using the camera. In this way people learned about the various identities. Through this exchange, the cultural heritage of both cities was disclosed. City Ragas was made in a cooperation between Waag (Amsterdam) and Sarai (Delhi).
Photography was used as a means of visual communication to bypass limitations posed by verbal language and the written word.
These new means of communication such as the cell phone and the internet make space for a new visual language. Cell phone photography is an emerging media format, making it possible for new players to enter the domain of image making. It changes the way photos are made, viewed, shared and circulated. City Ragas is a playful approach at image making (and collaborative storytelling), using GPRS enabled cellular phones.
Participants in the two cities worked with a set of thematic clusters:
- Speed and Motion
- Surprise and Everyday
- Inside and Outside
The results of the visual exchange can be seen at the project website. The website could serve as a platform for a continuation of the cultural exchange with more themes in the future. The City Ragas game was later renamed PingPongPicture and used by Creative Learning Lab.