Raqs Media Collective: Escapement
Time girds the earth tight. Day after day, the hours, astride minutes and seconds, ride as they must, relentlessly. In the struggle to keep pace with clocks we are now everywhere and always in a state of jet lag, catching up with ourselves and with others, slightly short of breath, slightly short of time.
The soft insidious ticking away in our heads is syncopated by quickened heartbeats and the acceleration of everyday lives. Circadian rhythms (times to rise and times to sleep, times for work and leisure, times for sunlight and times for stars) become muddled as millions of faces find themselves lit by a timeless fluorescence that trades night for day. Sleep is besieged by wakefulness, hunger fed by stimulation, and moments of dreaming and alertness are eroded with the knowledge of intimate terrors and distant wars
Escape, when possible, is up a hatch and down a corridor between, and occasionally beyond, longitudes, to places where the hours chime epiphanies.
Escapement, Raqs Media Collective’s installation at the Frith Street Gallery, invokes clockwork, emotions, geography, fantasy and time zones to ask: What is contemporaneity? What does it mean to be living in these times, in these precipitating hours, these accumulating minutes, these multiplying seconds, here, now?
Raqs Media Collective (*1992) is Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. They have been variously described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors and catalysts of cultural processes. Their work, which has been exhibited widely in major international spaces, locates them in the intersections of contemporary art, historical enquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory – often taking the form of installations, online and offline media objects, performances and encounters. They live and work in Delhi, based at Sarai-CSDS, an initiative they co-founded in 2000. They are members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader series. They were co-curators, in 2008, of the Manifesta 7 Biennale.
Solo exhibitions include the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2009), Tate Britain (2009), Decomposition, Asia Art Archive Hong Kong (2009), The KD Vyas Correspondence Vol.1, Museum of Communication, Frankfurt (2006), and There has been a change of plan, Nature Morte, New Delhi (2006). Recent group exhibitions include: Indian Highway, Serpentine Gallery, London, The Art of Participation, SFMOMA, San Francisco, The Collection as Aleph, Kunst Museum Graz (all 2008), Istanbul Biennial, Shooting Back, Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna both 2007.