The film follows Sphoorthi Theatre as they partner with Nokia India to take part in their 'Create to Inspire' scheme to raise awareness and tackle issues around sustainable consumption and management of electronic waste. We witness their progress as the organisation creates a piece to address the growing problem of electronic waste, especially from discarded toxic cell phone parts, and tries to offer solutions. It also shows Padmini’s commitment to supporting traditional string puppetry artists in her region, with footage of the these puppeteers in performance.
By the end of 2013, there were more mobile devices on Earth than people. The UN have warned that many electronic devices bought are destined to create a flood of dangerous e-waste. By 2017, the amount of e-waste generated globally is expected to be over 65 million tonnes per year.
These are electronic goods made up of hundreds of different materials containing toxic substances, much of which ends up in the developing world causing significant pollution and health risks.
India celebrates long historical traditions of rod, shadow and string puppets and these puppet traditions are repositories of culture and history. The medium of this traditional art gave us the opportunity to gain unique insights into India's rich cultural heritage as well as offer an approach to demonstrating that creative arts projects and community engagement can bring about bold social change.
Viewed from the perspective of a developing nation, Magic In Our Hands follows puppetry artist, Padmini Rangarajan, from Hyderabad, South India as she leads a team of young students to engage in a community action project to create ownership on judicious consumption and management of e-waste. The underlying idea is to urge people not to wait for ‘someone’ to do ‘something’ about the issue ‘someday’, but rather shoulder the responsibility ourselves for a sustainable tomorrow.
The most significant advance in technology of the past generation has been the very rapid growth of Information and Communication Technologies in both developed and developing countries. This globalisation has allowed production and waste management to be outsourced to rapidly developing countries, such as India, yet this also shifts any responsibility of the associated emissions to those countries.
The toxic effects to our health and environment are not yet widely known, yet the hazards Padmini uncovers could prove fatal to many if we don't address these issues now. Through puppetry arts, Padmini and her students can inspire their community into action and take responsibility to build safer and more resourceful environments for women and children and the community at large.