“Together, this suite of poignant and poetic videos grapple with the pervasive and dispersed impact on daily routines and relationships with one another, and beyond, in the age of the Coronavirus. In the summer of 2020, Raqs Media Collective released 31Days (18 minutes, video, calligraphy, text) three months after the predicament of quarantine and seclusion caused by the Covid-19 pandemic gripped contemporary life across the globe. Offering a meditation on a restless world in a quiet time, 31 Days explored the weight and ambivalence of loss through haunting repetition, things gleaned from the corner of one’s eye, and fragments seen, heard and sensed between the three members of Raqs. The new works deepen their inquiry into the tensions of time and place. 31 Days embodied a sense of timelessness, as well as making place ambiguous; a new non-place (in cyberspace) emerges as if the geographical location is irrelevant.

Both time and place remain key as they inform world views, IP addresses, and perspectives beyond 31 Days. It has been nine months and counting since ​“work from home” has become status quo. While the third wave of Covid-19 spreads throughout the world, Raqs continued the conversation and lucid dreaming with two new highly anticipated works: twentyfourbyseven (6 minutes) and Why do they call the answer to a question, a solution? (12 minutes).”

-Srimoyee Mitra (2020)

31 Days, 2020

Video with Calligraphy, Pixels, Sound

Duration: 17:45 mins

Exhibited at: The Laughter of tears, solo exhibition at Braunschweig, Germany (2021); The Pandemic Circle at Stamps Gallery, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, Expo Chicago – online (2020) and CC: World, Haus der Kulturen der Welt- online, Berlin (2020)

A conversation in images, missives to selves and world, mood swings in lockdown and a share in the planet’s lucid dreams during a global pandemic. Gleaned from a month’s worth of the habit, within Raqs, of a regular chatter, the daily back and forth of things seen, heard, read and sensed between three people across decades. From the dawn of new feelings to the obstinate sediment of images that don’t let themselves be unseen. Disappearing ephemera, history in the making, the scene that unfolds in the corner of the eye – everything, and nothing. Real, imagined, and everywhere in between. Notes of pictures that whisper, speak in tongues, and sometimes leap, from hibernation to upheaval. 

Sometimes it takes just 31 days for the world to lose its way, or find a path through time. This time – of the now, of the dilated present – must be able to see us all together.

As jester and jest

As teller, as told

Of dreams and fears

In laughter and tears

This is how traditions of laughter and irreverence survive. 

This is how survival, survives. By passing through time like a cypher. 

Humour is merely another beast in a bestiary. 

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twentyfourbyseven, 2020

Video, Calligraphy, Text, Animation

Duration: 7 minutes

Exhibited at The Pandemic Circle at Stamps Gallery, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, Expo Chicago – online (2020)

Walking a tightrope between knowing and feeling in elongated pandemic days and nights. There is an awareness of the awareness of how the nervous system responds to the nervousness of this time. There is now the out-of-body sensation of looking back on each moment as it passes, twentyfourbyseven.

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Why do they call the answer to a question, a solution?

video, spoken word

Duration: 12 mins

The Pandemic Circle at Stamps Gallery, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, Expo Chicago – online (2020)

The third video in this pandemic circle turns into an enquiry into the very form of thinking. It moves between lesions, joys, epiphanies, and terror. The image and voice rewire spaces left unattended by various 20th century impasses. The film reflects on exhaustion and inventiveness, love and dignity, deep pasts and faint futures, and the ruptures that modulate the share of ​“overcoming” and ​“overturning” in our individual selves, and collective life. The video enters troubled waters to search for news way to look at horizons.

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