Found on All Fours
Welcome to our Kahani Ki Dukaan in Gunehar. It’s a shop that sells fantasy. We don’t accept debit or credit cards. We only accept reality.
At a time when many conversations are one-liners on social media, Found on All Fours, an artist collective from Delhi, seeks to create an atmosphere in which storytelling and cross-sharing of experiences are encouraged. #FOAF states that they are “in the business of gatecrashing into people’s living rooms”; that is: hosting storytelling sessions in intimate settings in which people feel comfortable to listen and talk.
Armed with a variety of narrative art forms – spoken words, theatre, movement, puppetry, music, film – #FOAF creates an interactive ‘adda’ into which they bring their own stories, but also encourage the hosts and guests to “open up about their experiences, views and opinions”.
At SAAS-3, #FOAF intends to take this communication method into the houses, chai shops and private spaces of Gunehar, in an effort to create dialogues and filter out mixed narratives that go beyond mere expressions of rigid opinions.
Have you ever talked about your fears to strangers? That is how you introduce yourself when you are at The 4tables Project in Gunehar. Thanks to our host Frank, the conversation flowed freely, happily, and mockingly (mostly at the expense of @anoopchughster) over Rum & coke. 12 artists working on 12 concepts in 30 days is a reality show you wouldn’t want to miss. The next 30 days, Foundonallfours will be acting as a binding force between art and locals through poetry, spoken word, visual art, theatre and performance.
Follow our journey while we bring live stories from Gunehar to your phones.
Let’s make art local again!
Day 1 Challenge :
Our struggles of day 1 started even before we came here.
How do we get ideas without a shop we thought. We walked around the village wondering what the shops would be and imagined different spots and scenarios.
When Axl Rose sang, “All you need is just a little patience,” I think he was talking about #kahanikidukaan. After the much anticipated and long wait for Gunehar’s own art residency #shopartartshop, we have found our #KahaniKiDukaan at the most surreal of locations. This overwhelming feeling has finally started to sink in. Okay, maybe not. Day 2 was filled with varied range of emotions – the nervous wait for the final nod, the goosebumps during concept discussions, the eagerness to begin and also the much-dreaded cleaning process, the villain of this story, or so we thought.
But, if you want to build something great, you have to get your hands dirty and brooms and sickle and spade. Our reward, the greatest house-warming party ever. And, just like any other great house party we had food – in our case – homemade gol gappas, but with a view. For entertainment, we had our very own dance-off and a house-warming gift that made us melt – a hand-picked bouquet of wild flowers. For friends, we had a bunch of 8-12 year olds who met the children in us, while we met the storytellers in them.
The wait is finally over.
Day 2 Challenge :
On day 2 we wandered through upper gunehar along with all the other artists in search for the perfect shop. They were all so beautiful, throughout the walk we were anxious to see a shop that was us.
The moment we saw the magnanimous yellow house we knew we’d found it. What we didn’t realise was how dirty and big it was also how this was the only house that still didn’t have the owners permission to be used. Soon we realised getting the permission wasn’t so easy. Apparently, our landlord Dr Rajkumar is the health officer of the town and the busiest guy around. When we couldn’t get his time, we wrote him a letter.
Love comes like surprise ice on water. In our case, it came like surprise hail with rain. Today was about patience, a lot of it. We were patient at 7 AM when we were at the village square to perform our first busking of #shopartartshop. It was just a few of us playing for the morning silence, till we were greeted by some grumpy and sleepy school children waiting for their school buses. More than a few actually. What started off as a quiet morning soon turned into a story bazaar with children clapping on the beats of djembe from their school buses and waving us goodbyes on the chords of guitar. Fast forward six hours. We were caught in a thunderous hailstorm at #KahaniKiDukaan at upper Gunehar. Which meant we had to stay indoors with some village children who were patient enough to hear us rehearse some Kabir dohe and short stories. They say make hay while the sun shines, we made hay on a wet, gloomy day. Patience.
Day 3 Challenge :
The balcony, the view and the surroundings were perfect but the owner still couldn’t be reached. Since we could not reach him we cleaned the place nonetheless.
Finally by noon end we got through to the owner and the shop was ours to transform.
After lunch some of us decided to visit the nearby school to interact with the children there. On our way there it started to pour heavily. This incident made us realize that the weather here can be rather unpredictable. We overcame it by changing our work time. We decided we will go early and leave by the time the clouds come out.
PS: The letter finally reached Rajkumar and Bazinga! we got the permissions to turn his neglected home into our storyshop.
As soon as we opened the Gunehar shop with branding courtesy Jasmine Kochar and art courtesy Alqawi Nanavati and fittings courtesy Vikas Gupta and Abhishek Malik, we found our first set of guests, children of Gunehar, making the most of our dukaan. These little elves, in the form of Gunehar children, buzzing around us, eager to help and even more eager to perform kept us going through the day and made sure our shop was never out of action even for a minute. As a return gift, we conducted an acting workshop with these magicians and gave them some lines to rehearse. What started as a way to keep them entertained, soon turned into a full-fledged rehearsal and we found some of the finest actors and directors among us. Check the stories to see some of Gunehar’s first time actors and directors jamming with foundonallfours.
Day 4 Challenge
Adapting to weather conditions and
Habits of the people around proved to work for us. They wake up early and shut shops early too, today we started to adopt their schedule, this made us more productive too.
Stories are best told in a balcony at the edge of a cliff. That’s what our #KahaniKiDukaan looks like at #shopartartshop, Gunehar. Our shop has become a hunting ground for the curious village children who end up spending most of their free time post school reading/reciting stories with us, honing their drama skills and working on their art. The fact that #KahaniKiDukaan shares its space with Konman’s #tuktukcinema makes our campus the happiest place of the festival. Almost a mini-entertainment city within the village. This #shopartartshop is about borderline, and through Kahani Ki Dukaan and Konman’s tuktuk cinema, we are trying to make villagers transcend a fine line between reality and fiction. We all are a story, after all.
Day 5 Challenge:
We realised we cannot have gatherings regularly because it takes up our day and we didn’t have enough time to create to new stories.
Art residencies are about processes. Following a process over and over again till it starts to take some shape. Day 6 of #shopartartshop made us realise how important it is to live in the moment. We took a breather to write and reflect. We left the comfort of our shop and followed some wild trails till we found the tree with the widest shadow. That’s where we began the process of writing our local broadways. Also, this is where Gunehar TV was born. Gunehar TV is our attempt to present the local life through international formats – news, skits and monologues. It is ‘whose line is it anyway’ of Gunehar. The best bit is Gunehar TV features actors from Gunehar and stories that transcends borders.
Day 6 Challenge
Today we became a team of three people from five. Now we had to redistribute work, taking into account that everyone can’t do everything. We took into account team dynamics and renegotiate responsibilities. We also realized it’s harder to work in a team vs working solo.
After a 6 day lull period we were able to visualise our thoughts and our ‘dukaan’. We decided to stop and reflect on everything for a minute, reconstructing our processes and ways of working. Now, we had started on the right foot and hoped for the best. Although we weren’t able to do something tangible in terms of making today, our vision was no longer clouded.
Day 7 Challenge
Until today we had managed to capture the minds and imaginations of children, now we needed to move to adults too.
Today Gunehar’s own TV channel was born. This channel was made to distribute news and entertainment from the village and around the world of the people, by the people, for the people. What’s so special about Gunehar TV you may ask? Think about it, what if someone read all your news in a sweet, melodic voice wouldn’t everything be wonderful and happy? If you’d like to experience log onto Gunehar TV and catch the kids of Gunehar exploding with excitement.
Day 8 Challenge
Everyone wishes to be an actor but only a few have the knack for it.
Today when we ventured into Gunehar TV, a digital form of storytelling, we faced a challenge of filtering and discovering actors in the kids.
When you think about a shop, you think about groceries or clothes, but this ‘Kahaani ki Dukaan’ offers fantasies wrapped in stories,
Some through Gunehar TV
Some through podcasts
Some through books and
Some through performance art.
These stories are an amalgamation of words, actions, music, emotions and whole lot of Gunehar.
Our stories will not only entertain the listener but also cross the line of imagination with the truth.
Day 9 Challenge
Now that we have established a happy realtionship with the village children, we have a gigantic task facing us, how to find our way into people’s livingrooms. Because of village hierarchies and inhibitions, we found it hard to get villagers together at one place. So we did the next best thing, we took the stories to one home at a time.
They say if it’s difficult to get them to your shop, you take your shop to their homes. That’s what we did. We moved our #KahaniKiDukaan around into Gunehar homes with stories, poetry and music. These baithaks were conducted exclusively for Gunehar families in their courtyards and livingrooms. As they were sitting face to face with their realities, fiction knocked at their doors.
Day 10 Challenge
Gunehar Livingrooms sessions have taken off. We have also realised one home’s reality is another home’s fiction. We took a real story from one home. Add a bit of their aspirations to it and narrated the story at another home. Through, Kahani Ki Dukaan we have blurred the lines between reality and fiction. You can’t really say where reality ends and where fiction begins.
What if Gunehar had its own livingrooms sessions. Its own houseconcerts, its own sofar sounds, its own FOAF livingroom. Well, it did. Foundonallfours #KahaniKiDukaanconducted a few of livingroom sessions taking stories and conversations from one home to another. These sessions are the borderline between reality and fiction. In the case of children, reality and fantasy. The dukaan is home-delivering the world of madness and miracles in Upper Gunehar. Call us the Zomato of stories.
Day 11 Challenge
We are almost approaching the halfway mark and our shop if far from being ready for the exhibition. The good bit is our concepts are in place and our shop as a line between fiction and reality is ready to create a world where facts meet improvisation.
Our Santa Claus is back from Delhi. This time around @jasminekochar got us some chocolates, a few packs of hand-made paper and a few other gifts. But, the most precious gift she got us was her writing and voice. Jasmine has been shuttling between Delhi and Gunehar over the weekdays and weekends keeping a fine balance between her worklife as a shoe designer and her alter ego as a storyteller.
Cheers to her spirit that makes her travel 28 hours for 36 hours of stay. Long live the storyteller in all of us.
Foundonallfours #KahaniKiDukaan presents Gunehar’s first broadway. At least, we have made our intentions clear at the shop with a hoarding. While, this week we are researching and writing these broadways, the next week shall be about preparing the stage and rehearsals. If you want to be a part of Gunehar’s first broadway at Kahani Ki Dukaan, you can plan your travel between June 8th and June 15th.
The 13th day was a special one for two reasons. First, we have put up the festival itinerary at the shop; second, we have also updated our blog for you to understand our highs and lows. Follow the link in bio to read & understand the story of ‘Kahani Ki Dukaan at Gunehar.’
Day 14: Now that the dates for Gunehar’s first broadway are out, it was time for us to dig some interesting stories from the village – those that can be improvised upon. We went around homes in the guise of storytellers and poked our noses into the lifestyle of the villagers. While some stories made our eyes moist, others left us in splits. Some of the plots we are presently exploring are – a boy who grows wings at night, a drunkard’s monologue with his bottle, a man who misses walking, a weaver who believes in ‘you only live solo’ and a few others. Some of these would become broadways, while others would find its rightful place in Gunehar’s own storybook and podcast. Stay tuned.
There’s always a fine line between a character and a narrator. A character, more often than not, is unaware of his/her qualities and doesn’t have any control over his/her character. A narrator on the other hand is street smart and has the script in control. Today, as narrators, we met a lot of characters around the village and tried to add a little bit of fiction to their stories. As these characters became larger than life we kept getting closer to our broadway scripts. These Crepuscular rays right about #KahaniKiDukaan signifies the borderline between reality and fiction. Our storytelling sessions with Gunehar children is the reality here, while, the characters that’s brewing in our broadways, podcasts, illustrations and paintings are a figment of our collective imagination. June 8th is when reality of the village will come face to face with the fiction of our characters. See you at #shopartartshop.
An audio storytelling project by foundonallfours
There’s often a very thin line between reality and fiction. This podcast is the thin line where reality ends and fiction begins. But, if you choose, you can blur the thin line and make reality and fiction come face-to-face, or in this case ear-to-ear. Left earplug plays the character. Right earplug plays the narrator.
Left ear-plug is playing reality.
Right ear-plug is playing fiction.
Both ear-plugs together merge reality with fiction.
Releasing June 8th at #KahaniKiDukaan Gunehar.
Gunehar is home to some of the craziest stories. For instance, the postmaster of Gunehar wants the villagers to write letters again. Hell with whatsapp! According to him Gunehar recieves a total of fifteen letters a week and sends barely a couple of letters every seven days. We also met the most talented Guneharite yet – a Shehnai player who is known for his drinking appetite. June 8th onwards #KahaniKiDukaan shall be presenting stories on some of the most fascinating characters of Gunehar through broadway, paintings, illustrations and podcasts. This is getting interesting.
Broadways need stages that can make Sanjay Leela Bhansali look like a miser. We don’t have budgets for such stages. So, we did the next best thing – reuse available resources to turn our mud dukaan into a stage. While, old newspapers are up, white chiffon curtains can’t wait to drape this gorgeous frame. What are you doing this June 8th onwards? We are performing Gunehar’s firstever Broadway week. whistles
Meet Ranbir, the protagonist of Gunehar’s first broadway. He is unlike any other story of Gunehar. He dreams more often than an average child. He dreams at night and he dreams during the day. Too much dreaming makes him miss his school at least twice a week, but he couldn’t care any less. He dreams of a life that’s improbable. ‘Ranbir ke Pankh’ will premiere at #KahaniKiDukaan in Gunehar this June 8th. Come and watch Ranbir soar to a place where everyone is equal, not more equal or less equal, just equal.
The broadway features @nope.noteventhis and @vikas.2410 as Ranbir and his dreamy self; typography by @jasminekochar; art by @vidhified; script by @anoopchughster and narration by @kavita_ki_kavita and Anoop.
This is the first of five broadways #KahaniKiDukaan shall showcase during #shopartartshop at Gunehar by @the4tablesproject. The other broadways which we shall reveal later features writing by @toto_grapher, Kavita, Jasmine and Anoop.
At #KahaniKiDukaan Gunehar, we are telling stories in more ways than one. Of course, you already know about broadways and podcasts – ‘Gunehar from the inside’ is @art_by_alqawi ‘s impressions of Gunehar. Come and visit the dukaan between June 8th and June 15th to experience Gunehar stories with a dash of fantasy, imagination, art, audio and theatre.
Gunehar from the inside.
Everyone has a physical, mental and emotional side to them. What you see on the outside isn’t always what you get on the inside. The shell is what we can all see therefore, these painting delve a little deeper, into their conversations, aspirations and the things you may not see.
Taking as backdrop the social turmoils of Gunehar, #KahaniKiDukaan looks at the social stories of rural Himachal intertwining private and public, the unspoiled dreams of a young generation and the crude realities of the real world. Through this dukaan we are trying to reject conventional storytelling in favour of a more confrontative and daring mediums to narrate a story – podcasts, broadways, busking, painting & an illustrative book. Time & people of Gunehar are fragmented across eras in order to discover the past within the present, and, so are our stories. The dukaan is ready to be experienced June 8th onwards.
Beware! This is no placid summer tale. @toto_grapher’s broadway debut is as intoxicating as it is honest. An unflinching study of a musician’s obsession with his clarinet and his liquor. A self-binding portrait of Gunehar’s most-loved and most-hated character.
Typography by @jasminekochar
Poster design by @vidhified
Actors @nope.noteventhis and @vikas.2410
This is second of the five broadways we are showcasing at Foundonallfours #KahaniKiDukaan at @the4tablesproject #shopartartshop. Come and visit #KahaniKiDukaan for stories told through broadways, busking, podcasts, art and illustrations.