36 Planes of Emotions

Laser engraved acrylic glass, furniture, lighting (180 x 150 x 60 cm)

Surjection, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto (2011); Raqs Media Collective, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2012)

Graphic design: Amitabh Kumar + Satyabrata Rai.

36 Planes of Emotions extends the palette of emotions to include states of collective potential. These are embodied in an assemblage of phrases, surfaces, and transparencies that enlist a cluster of invented collective nouns. The nouns etch enigmatic, invented states of being and emotions on to transparent acrylic surfaces. Light, words, perspex hues, and refractions produce their own whimsical annotations. The list of emotions is building upon a medieval Sanskrit manual of aesthetics, as well as the understanding that no one experiences a single emotion singularly – all affect is layered and multiple. Raqs make new collective nouns to hint at this complexity.

A Chaos Of Awakened Wonders
A Museum Of Innocent Assumptions
A Transport Of Giddy Joys
A Geometry Of Angry Loves
A Furtherance Of Future Anticipations
A Clutch Of Uncertain Embarrassments
A Manufactory Of Rising Intoxications
A Cortege Of Cardinal Hungers
A Rustle Of Thoughtful Lusts
A Triumph Of Truant Stupors               
A Volley Of Rising Whimsies
A Futility Of Sweaty Arrogances
A Latitude Of Languid Longings
An Inebriety Of Fluorescent Voices
A Scale Of Sliding Sorrows
A Largesse Of Generous Insanities
A Madness Of Measured Impotencies
A Fluster Of Surprised Kisses
A Fleet Of Fugitive Annoyances
A Bouquet Of Perfumed Cruelties
A Masquerade Of Moral Panics
A Perfection Of Sustained Fascinations
A Fizz Of Aroused Expectations
A Cabinet Of Morbid Contentments
A Thrall Of Trembling Envies
An Embrace Of Paralytic Seductions
An Artillery Of Inconstant Shames
A Picnic Of Nimble Choices
An Indulgence Of Frenetic Laxities
Carnival Of Misconstrued Disgusts
A Mosaic Of Minute Hopes
A Hydra Of Headstrong Desires
A Whisper Of Manic Mirths
A Sufferance Of Chewy Distinctions
An Eloquence Of Delighted Doubts
A Pleasure Of Sudden Dissimulation

One Meter of Truth (Emotion) | 2014

Steel table with wooden top, printed canvas (58”x 58”, 1m steel measure)

Note: One Meter of Truth (Emotion) is a recension of ‘36 Planes of Emotion’ exhibited at  ‘Asamayavali/Untimely Calendar’, NGMA 2014.

During a rehearsal process for a work being made with theatre artists, Raqs began to seek a language for states of feeling, and the body, that were at a tangent to the way in which a standard repertoire of emotions are described. They were drawn to a 10th century manual for poets and performers by Abhinavagupta, philosopher and aesthetician from early medieval Kashmir. Abhinavagupta proposes a scheme for combining emotional and bodily states to produce a cascading series of affective registers that the actor can play with. Through this work, Raqs enters into the territory of things that we know, but defy classification as new sensations are created by bringing unexpected things together. This work can be seen as an annotation that lists one of those sets of un-recognised possibilities: states of being and feeling so fleeting, so real and so enigmatic, that a whole new vocabulary has to be invented even to begin talking about it.
One meter of truth seeks to challenge this new classification itself: can even these suffice?