Whenever the Heart Skips a Beat | 4 min 31 seconds
Animated Horological Video, Words
The heart is the first clock that counts the body’s time. And each heartbeat is a moment given over to knowing what it feels like to be alive. The heart skips a beat with joy, misses a beat with terror, quivers with surprise. Whenever we are transformed, the heart skips a beat. Whenever the heart skips a beat, we are re-arranged inside. In the eloquent silences that syncopate the tumult and drumbeat of our sense of the world, the heart tarries. In that silence, the senses wander, and sentience watches itself, sometimes alert, sometimes astray. The heart skips a beat, the mind makes a move, the body replies. What begins with our eyes, travels to the brain, courses to our heart and then returns to our eyes. We become the words we think we feel. Whenever the Heart Skips a Beat is a new work by the Raqs Media Collective – an animated video showing a clock-face that features a set of eleven words instead of numbers in order to represent the hours. The words are an array of adjectives and nouns that qualify each other, flying across the face of the clock, arranging and rearranging themselves, producing constant permutations and combinations of states of mind and being through the actions of the hour and minute hands that join any two words at different points of time. The lexical patterns produced by this process register a deeply felt, subjective experience of time and duration. This work grows out of Raqs Media Collective’s continued pre-occupation with time and with the metaphorical possibilities of horology. It updates and annotates their earlier experiment with clocks, feelings and words – Escapement.
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A Day in the Life of Kiribati
Clock, nameplate, tape
Exhibited at Asamayavali/Untimely Calendar at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi (2014)
The history of clock-making saw a definite turn when devices for understanding time shifted away from the fluid principles of ancient Chinese water and incense clocks – for which time was a continuum, thus making it more difficult to surgically separate past and present, then and now – to clocks whose ticking seconds rendered a conceptual barricade between each unit, its predecessor and its follower. This is what makes now seem so alien to then. Paradoxically, it opens out another zone of discomfort. Different places share the same time because of the accident of longitude. In a syncopated sort of way, we are “contemporaneous” with other times and spaces. Clocks in London and Lagos show the same time. And yet, the experience of “now” in London and Lagos may not feel the same at all. What does it mean to be living in these times, in these quickening hours, these accumulating minutes, these multiplying seconds, here, now? For ‘Asamayavali/Untimely Calendar’, the clock gives the time of Kiribati, the first land on Earth to switch the calendar over to 2000, and which could be the first place on this planet to disappear with rising sea levels because of global warming.
The Ecliptic | 2014
Clock, aluminium, acrylic, LED lights, 55 x 55 x 15 cm
‘The Ecliptic’, an inscribed tablet, a bespoke clock, alters the interval between moments with words, light and syncopated impulses of electricity. TIME is constant, time is flux. The ecliptic marks the path of the sun in the sky. Along it the seasons change, along it the days unfold, along it time freezes and thaws. It’s arc offers passage out of here, out of now, everyday, all the time.
Sleep, Clock |2018
Two synchronised lenticular fields, Clock Faces, Text ( 2 X 2 ft. each)
Project 88 | Mumbai
Sleep. Waking. Life. Death. The most intimate, singular as well as universal of experiences is rendered through a pair ofclock-faces that mark the rhythm of every working day, and every life. The alteration between waking, working, sleeping on the one hand, and the beginning and end of life on the other are the two sets of movements that stand behind the conception of this piece.