soDA magazine 19, Zurich (2002); Casebook (2014, AGYU Canada), Raqs presented the concept of “Event-shaped Hole” which translated into the essay The Event-shaped Hole and the Photographic Image in The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics, 2021
Casebook (2014, AGYU Canada)
A photograph is an image of an event-shaped-hole, and as witnesses to such perforations we could begin to act like protagonists in a Scandinavian crime thriller, building up layers of forensic interpretation on to the cavity of the event in order to transform the event-shaped-hole into a rich account of making and unmaking of ways and forms of living. Usually we find a propositional cavity inside a document or a photograph or a report, an event-shaped-hole, that needed filling in. We propose that the film introduces a very specific idea: that a photograph is always available and remains as a spectral haunting attached to events, even without ever being seen. The status of the event is irrelevant—it could be a deal, a crime, or a catastrophe. The photograph stays as a clue to the “event-shaped hole” that marks the patchwork of daily life, of both power and counter-power, as well as the inertial. In a picture an excess of the real strays. It acts as a clue to the not- in-view, or deliberately occluded, surfaces of reality. A picture can then be read as an encoded surface always open to decipherment, or comparison. The ‘role’ assigned to the photograph gives it a performative status as ‘evidence’ in a contest of truth claims. The image function could prove or disprove, and is thus to be called into the arena for disputation. All those years ago we laughed at the misadventures produced by the spectral tension of the image. Its transactional potency felt comic even as it was enveloping us all.