• An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale | 2011
    Video projection of treated and animated archival photograph. 3’ 35”, loop silent
    AGYU | Toronto

    “An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale” is a looped video projection of an archival photograph in which a room full of surveyors in colonial Calcutta is transformed through a series of alterations. 

    The photograph in question is titled ‘Examining Room of the Duffing Section of the Photographic Department of the Survey of India’. It was taken in Calcutta in 1911 by the British photographer James Waterhouse. 

    Raqs intervene in this image to conjure a constellation of stars on to a drawing board, induce tremors too gentle to disturb the richter scale, reveal a dreamed up desert, make time wind backwards, stain the afternoon with indigo and introduce a rustle and a hesitation in the determined stillness of the surveyors hard at work at mapping empire. The work functions as a meditation on the condensation of time in the photographic image as well as a gentle, whimsical disturbance in the serious enterprise of recording and commemorating the imposition of order on a fractious landscape. The surveying department is unhinged from empire and annexed to the commonwealth of dreams.