QUAYS Culture has co-commissioned an exciting new app created by Invisible Flock (UK) and Quicksand (India) to celebrate 2017 as a major year of cultural exchange between the two countries.

Duet is a unique project where people across the UK can connect anonymously to those on the other side of the world and exchange details about their lives through a simple app.

Participants from the UK and India can build relationships with each other by answering one question a day, every day, throughout 2017.

Through Duet, people from India and the UK can compare their own cultural similarities and differences.

Catherine Baxendale, Creative Producer at Invisible Flock, spoke about the interactive art studio’s role in the project:

“We work in collaboration with Quicksand, a design studio based in India and we met them back in 2014 at the British Council Creative Economy lab.

“We both wanted to create a piece of work which connected individuals and brought people closer together.”

Quays Culture has teamed up to ensure that the people of Greater Manchester are aware of this exciting new opportunity to be able to link with people from a different cultural background.

Catherine said: “Our project related to Quays Culture’s programme of work so they were really interested in it and it will help to build new relationships with their audiences.”

The project is also funded by the Arts Council England and the British Council, co-commissioned by Yorkshire Design Group, Threshold Studios and Quest Alliance and supported by East Street Arts, Leeds Bid, Leeds City Council and Unbox.

The Duet app has only been made available on the app store during the past week but so far it has been a success and Catherine is particularly impressed with the amount of users downloading the app. Eventually the app will help participants to create a picture of their partner, their lifestyle and their surroundings through anonymous daily communication.

Katherine said that Invisible Flock are working closely with Quicksand to ensure that the number of users are matched in both India and the UK.

This intriguing idea supports the British Council’s programme to celebrate the cultural exchange and rich history of the UK and India with events and activities throughout 2017.

Catherine said: “The British Council are one of the co-commissioners for our project and this year it’s been 70 years since India had British independence so they are producing a programme of work over the year to celebrate.

“We did think that it was an appropriate year to bring out the work, we aimed for this year.”

The following video was a collaboration created by Invisible Flock and Quicksand to show the personal and cultural connections that can be made through Duet app.

Duet from Quicksand on Vimeo.

Users can also access the Duet web platform where anonymous conversations are made available online so others can explore the thousands of connected conversations happening across the world.

“We describe the web platform as a portal into the work,” said Catherine.

“If you think of the app as an anonymous but personal interaction, the web platform takes those conversations, still anonymously but puts them publicly on a 3D interactive website to explore all the answers.”

Invisible Flock and Quicksand are also working on public artwork galleries in cities across the UK and India throughout 2017. Messages received via the app will be viewed across the year for the public to gain a glimpse of the interactions, expressing the cultural differences and similarities between people from the two counties.

There will be a public artwork gallery in Salford Quays for Quays Culture Festival in December.

Duet is available to download now via the App Store and Google Play for iOS users.

Download and connect – you never know, you might find someone who’s just like you from across the world!

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