The Return of Tipoo’s Tiger | 2017
Performance, 2 video projections, masks, paper plaques
V&A Museum | London
Imagine an Eighteenth century South Indian automaton of a devouring tiger commissioned by Tipoo Sultan becoming a holy relic in the Europe of 4016 CE – a fetish object worshipped by the future submarine inhabitants of the channel tunnel. “The Return of Tipoo’s Tiger” is a communiqué from the far future channeled by the Raqs Media Collective into the Victoria & Albert Museum for “Collecting Europe” a programme conceived by the Goethe Institute, London and the V&A Museum.
In Raqs’ media rich performance, Tipoo’s Tiger becomes an uncanny meme for Europe’s presence in the world – a fantastical, funny reminder of the ongoing joust between defeat and victory, European and non-European histories, man and nature, human beings and machines.
“S : All hail the stripes, the strength, the striving. The lost and found Tiger Lord has risen, his claw and order (or, golden standard) shining.
M : All hail the roar, the rampant stance, the man-beast victorious. The machine has now spoken, and has been spoken for.
S : From the frozen seashore to the blossoming desert we wait for the relics to speak. We listen but we cannot yet hear what they say.
M : So we begin, as we must, with homagery and gratuitude. All hail all that needs hailing, taxicabs for time travel, autonomiles with expandable leg-room for constricting consciousnesses, epiphenomenal epiphanies, sunbursts and sultan-lotion for the radioactive illusions of thermodynamic sovereignty.
S : All hail, all hail, all hail. ”
-except from The Return of Tipu’s Tiger (performed by Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Monica Narula)