13th April – 7th May, 2016
An exhibition of works by Raqs Media Collective at Project Space Plus, The University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, LN6 7TS. Open 13th April to 7th May, Monday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm. Free entry.
Gymnasium has commissioned New Delhi-based artists Raqs Media Collective to produce a new temporary public work in Lincoln later in the year. In the run up to the opening of this new public work, Raqs are presenting past works, alongside a new series of prints in Project Space Plus and a text work on the ‘Link’ wall outside.
Raqs new works (the proposed new public work, the series of prints and the wall text work) are based on their study of ‘An Investigation of The Laws of Thought’ a book by the nineteenth century Lincoln-born mathematician George Boole. Boole pioneered the concept of ‘logic gates’ using category constellations such as ‘yes’, ‘no’ that went on to become the foundations of ‘Boolean Logic’ in computer programming.
In the suite of prints ‘Happen-Stances’, Raqs weaves statements about wealth, possibility, ethics and abundance out of the texture of Boole’s formulations, through the operations of chance. These are transformed into image-text objects that could be aids to thinking, or simply enjoyed as anticipations of word-sculptures in print form.
Raqs Media Collective’s work often seems to circle around ideas about chance, possibility and time. In ‘The Ecliptic’ (which is the term for the suns arc across the sky – our diurnal timepiece) a clock is amended to produce evocative linguistic instants of time, rather than set intervals. A Bergsonian project of relative duration perhaps and another instance of trying to create a space between delineated options, the yes and the no, moment to moment. They are making a plea for a ‘ variegated sense of time’ one which requires a qualitative rather than a quantitative approach to an experience.
In the video work ‘Re-Run’ time is made to loop back on itself but also to leap out of line. A slow motion moving image remake of one of Cartier Bresson’s ‘decisive moments’ – a bank run pre the take over of Shanghai by the People’s Liberation Army in 1948. A classic example of the self – fulfilling prophecy, the fear that the bank may fail causes mass withdrawals which ensure this failure. ‘The anticipation of the future produces conditions in the present which lead to the anticipated future.’ This seems deterministic yet this moment of circularity is rendered fluid again as one face in the crowd (like a time traveller gifted with hindsight) slowly turns to look at us and makes contact across the intervening decades. Raqs suggest that ‘The times of the past and the possibility of the future are both mortgaged and held hostage to the urgency of the unyielding present.’ And this work is perhaps their attempt at a negotiation out of this hostage situation and at creating a sense of contemporaneity.