Untimely Calendar embraces the impressive range of the Raqs Media Collective‘s diverse practices to act as a springboard for the collective’s explorations into the future, even as it offers a recension of their works spanning over a decade. Spread across 3,200 square meters of the NGMA‘s Jaipur House Gallery in New Delhi, Untimely Calendar is the largest and most wide ranging exhibition of the Raqs Media Collective’s work till now.
An asamayavali, an un-chronology, is by definition, un-retrospective. What Untimely Calendar offers is an acute way of reading contemporaneity, a working mill of ideas that face the future. Raqs aver that asamaya is both untimely and unlikely time, an unseasonable time. It can also be a time that we wish not to come to pass, or a time of desires and dreams, an imagined time. An asamayavali is an account of a time that is out of sorts; a time that is exciting and sits uneasily on our consciousness. It’s the kind of time that repairs days and nights, cooks the hours, does a bit of gardening of the minutes. It needs other devices—other clocks and calendars—for us to take a measure of its passage.
The Collective’s taste for time grows out of the 20 years of conversation that undergird its practice. Raqs was founded in 1992 in New Delhi, by Jeebesh Bagchi, Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Monica Narula, after they graduated from the AJK Mass Communication and Research Center, Jamia Milia University, while working together on their first, now lost, 16mm film, Half the Night Left, and the Universe to Comprehend. The Raqs Media Collective enjoys playing a plurality of roles, often appearing as artists, occasionally as curators, sometimes as philosophical agent provocateurs. They make contemporary art, have made films, curated exhibitions, edited books, staged events, collaborated with architects, computer programmers, writers and theatre directors and have founded processes that have left deep impacts on contemporary culture in India. Raqs (pron. rux) follows its self declared imperative of ‘kinetic contemplation’ to produce a trajectory that is restless in terms of the forms and methods that it deploys even as it achieves a consistency of speculative procedures.
The Raqs Media Collective was founded in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. Raqs remains closely involved with the Sarai program at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies , an initiative they co-founded in 2000.