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Chronus Art Center presents Raqs Media Collective Extra Time

Chronus Art Center presents Raqs Media Collective Extra Time on view August 23–November 17, 2013.

Extra Time opens as the Chronus Art Center’s inaugural show in Shanghai on the 23rd of August. The show brings together new and recent work by Raqs Media Collective (New Delhi, India) focusing on their investigations of time and temporality in different registers that span the spectrum of their diverse practice ranging from performance, to installation, architectural ensembles, video and photography.

For Raqs, time is more than the subject matter of their work. They treat time as if it were an actual medium, using duration, repetition, echo and the traces of our subjective responses to time’s passage as raw material for the construction of assemblages that seek to deflect the urgencies proposed by capitalism in favour of more considered ways of thinking about the world.

By creating striking constellations of images, using found and solicited material, quoting and transforming elements of news photography, ubiquitous signage, theatre, architecture and broadcast sports video, Raqs point to their vision of the networked nature of artistic and cultural production in the contemporary world. The works in this show are in several instances distillations of the many ongoing conversations that Raqs maintains and cultivates across disciplines and genres with different kinds of practitioners. These are the embodiments of their dialogues with theatre, with journalistic photography, with architecture, with theory and discourse.

This polyphonic iteration of their thinking process is in keeping with their understanding of our sense of our time and their own practice as being composed of many different elements that need to speak and listen to one another. Extra Time may be seen as a result of this conversation, as a thoughtful analytical tool, a poetic device, a theatrical demonstration as well as a sporting entertainment that unpacks and re-composes these elements into a cogent yet whimsical set of statements and gestures about being alive to the demands of being artists in today’s world.

Raqs has been in continuous conversation with West Heavens Project since 2010. This exhibition is also a result of their residency in Shanghai in April 2012, invited by West Heavens. As the first solo exhibition of the group, series of public events will be unfolded with its opening, along with the book launch of their first book in Chinese, Kinetic Contemplation.

Seen at Secundrabagh
Performance, installation, video, 50 minutes
English and Hindustani (with Chinese subtitles)
Raqs Media Collective and Zuleikha Chaudhari Productions, 2011

“But then, our eyes begin to work, and travel.”

Seen at Secundrabagh is a collaboration between the artists Raqs Media Collective and the theatre director Zuleilkha Chaudhari, both based in Delhi, India. This fifty-minute scripted performance featuring Kavya Murthy and Bhagwati Prasad unfolds against the projection of a photograph taken by Felice Beato in Lucknow, India in 1858 and within a scenario designed by Raqs and Chaudhari, with texts and video interventions by Raqs Media Collective. Felice Beato was a pioneering itinerant photographer who documented the Crimean War in Turkey, the 1857 Uprising in India and the Second Opium War in China.

The photograph that comprises the central provocation of Seen at Secundrabagh features an improvised ossuary in front of a stately ruin (in the wake of the mutiny of 1857 in the army of the East India Company in northern India). Fixing a moment in India’s turbulent colonial history, the image appears to be a faithful representation of the facts. Seen at Secundrabagh slices into the stability of this impression with a series of poetic and forensic gestures that displace the power of the recorded image as it moves from the archive to the theatre. In the end, this demands from the spectator the desire to undertake a few forms of space and time travel, with the performers, Raqs and Chaudhari as trusted guides.

Opening Performance: Seen at Secundrabagh
Raqs Media Collective and Zuleikha Chaudhari
Scenario for a performance, with video, text and two actors

Friday, 23 August, 7:30–8:30pm
Saturday, 24 August, 3–4pm; 7:30–8:30pm
Admission free
Reservations: [email protected]

Curators: Chang Tsong-zung (Johnson Chang) Li Zhenhua

Chronus Art Center (CAC)
Chronus Art Center (CAC) is the first major non-profit art organization in China focusing on the experiment, production, research, exhibition and education of new media art. By interweaving the residency projects, student grants, exhibitions, public programs, and the publication of new media art archive, CAC contributes the direct supports to the creation and education of new media art in China and overseas. As an innovative platform for the communication within the artists, curators and scholars from various fields, CAC provides the public the chance of experiencing the works and ideas of the artists, understanding the social, cultural and political significance of new media technology, and ultimately inspiring the ideas of contemporary life.

West Heavens
West Heavens is an integrated cross-cultural exchange programme. It aims to untangle and compare the different paths of modernity taken by India and China, to facilitate high-level communication between the two countries’ intellectual and art circles, and to promote interaction and cross-references between the two countries through social thoughts and contemporary art. Since 2010, the project has organized more than 100 events, including forums, exhibitions, film screenings and workshops, as well as publishing more than ten books.

This exhibition is hosted by Chronus Art Center, West Heavens and School of Inter-Media Art of China Academy of Art. Special Thanks to Inter-Asia School, Moonchu Foundation, CP Denmark Aps, WTi Group, and Parabola Media Lab.

Chronus Art Center
Bldg. 18
No. 50 Moganshan Rd.