by Quadrant

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Artwork credit: Naomi Kundu

Introducing The Revival Project: Stories of Reclamation and Rediscovery

Anjali Alappat

It’s only natural that when the future looks uncertain, we look to the past for guidance. On the surface, the world is turbulent and unrestful. It’s hard to ignore the winds of change sweeping every corner of the globe, and the slow but sure way the world is being reimagined. Not all these changes are huge and earth-shattering. Sometimes, it’s the small things, the microcosms, that create enduring ripples.

‘Renaissance’ is a word that leaves an impression. A period of great upheaval and change often leads to a rebirth of ideas, new points of view, and a revitalisation of culture. It feels like we’re experiencing a Renaissance of our own these days.

At Dark ‘n’ Light, we’ve long been fascinated with the idea of breathing fresh life into neglected concepts. It’s thrilling to see something discarded being rebuilt and rejuvenated in new ways.  

Communities all over the world are applying themselves to rediscovering and refining old customs in an effort to understand what inspired them in the first place. Rather than rigidly following antiquated patterns, it’s encouraging to see people repurposing ‘outdated’ ideas and incorporating them into their contemporary existence. We are also curious  about the nuts and bolts of this new Renaissance. What is being reclaimed, and why? How is it done? Who is doing it? Should they be doing it?

The Revival Project was born out of this discussion. We began piecing together ideas—big and small—about starting anew, and shaping something new and personal out of viewpoints that people had dismissed or disregarded. We see ‘revival’ as something that isn’t focused on stagnant ideas and long forgotten stories.

While we turn to the past for inspiration, customs, and as a doorway to cultures and methodologies that have fallen into disrepair, we are constantly looking to the future and searching out reimagined dreams. 

In India, and in many other countries, arts that were lost over time are being revitalised by young, eager minds. From music and dance to food and languages—there have been major steps taken to rescue lost skills and reintroduce lost ways.

The revival project is simple in its essence: stories of reclaiming and reshaping something that has been neglected, and giving it a new lease on life. Whether it’s indigenous music that has merged with rock and roll to keep oral traditions alive, ancient wooden bridges being remade in dense jungles, machines being discarded in favour of fingers spinning yarn, old institutions reopening their doors and admitting the digital age, handwritten gems tucked into lovingly sealed envelopes, forbidden words once again taking flight, and enduring hands finding and recreating forgotten treasures—stories of revival are all around us.

In this series, we seek out stories from across a broad spectrum to understand the nature of revivals. We firmly believe that the best stories are personal ones, told by people who care for them, and have nurtured them gently but firmly into existence.  Expect a variety of mediums to match the variety of our stories—videos, audio, essays, photographs, and more.

With The Revival Project, we’re choosing to look at the world through a dynamic and hopeful lens. Revitalisation in the best sense of the word. By documenting these stories, we’re hoping to reopen doors, and offer glimpses into lives and ways that are foreign to us, but tied together with the universal spirit of community and curiosity. Come travel the world with us, one revival tale at a time. From Norway to Meghalaya, and everywhere in between, we look forward to rediscovering it all together.