Liminal Gaps

Raqs Media Collective

NMACC, Mumbai, 2024

‘Liminal Gaps’ is an exhibition curated by Triadic (Mafalda Millies Kahane, Roya Sachs and Lizzie Edelman) at NAMACC, Mumbai that features works by Asim Waqif, Afrah Shafiq, Ayesha Singh and Raqs Media Collective. The show thrives on thresholds and transitions.
Raqs’ presence in the show, embodied in devices, spectra, states of being, and interferences, tells stories and offers questions about duration, experience, feelings, and the colours of time. 

  • Night & Day, day & Night
  • Nerves
  • Chromachron
  • Escapement

A 24 hour clock where the usual digits are displaced with words in the Devanagri script relating to varying scales of time. Words such as pran (life), tithi (date), ritu (season), express various notions of time. According to the artists, time is experienced at one instance at its briefest – shran (second), while at another it can open us to an eternity (kala) in it , or bring us back to a definite period as yug (century). In the quest to have ourselves be read by time, this counting device invites us to stand and be immersed within its counting; to sit, to wait, to stray, and to play with its meanings. The clock, like all things symbolic, remains open to interpretative moves.

Escapement

Installation with 27 clocks, high glass aluminium with LED lights, four flat screen monitors, video and audio looped, dimensions variable

A collection of twenty-seven almost identical clocks, each allocated to a city (Baghdad, Delhi, Tokyo, Johannesburg etc), with the hands set to their respective time zones. Three clocks tagged to three imaginary cities – Babel, Shangri La and Macondo – run backwards mirroring real time. In a twist, the clock faces are marked with emotions rather than hours, underlining the fragile functions of our daily lives. Escapement is a horological, or clockmaking term. It denotes the mechanism in watches and clocks that governs the regular motion of the hands.

Be-Taal/  बे-ताल

Augmented Reality Figures

An Augmented Reality work of abstract geometric figures that can be experienced through iPads located inside the central oval space. This work brings to question what is real in our tactile world, versus what exists in a digital reality. In many Indic languages, there are intangible beings who exist between the moments of our time; they are called ‘betaal’. The ‘betaal’, a figure familiar from popular story cycles, is perceived by Raqs as an entity that moves in the liminal gap between time and consciousness, as the very word means “off-time”. Inspired by its namesake, Be-Taal are augmented reality forms, appearing and disappearing from vision depending on the devices that render them alive.  

Chromachron

Paint, pantone colors of the years 2020 and 2021

A painted wall work in which each pantone strip represents the colour of a specific year, dating from 2000 – 2024. The pantone for each year is allocated through the analysis of socio-cultural factors & data, as well as seasonal trends. What is left is a capsule of experienced and imagined moods of the time. This corridor is, quite literally, a passage of time.

Nerves

Mural. Text and Drawings transferred in Vinyl

A large-scale mural work that can be found enveloping the staircases of the Art House. The ‘blue skin’ is layered with dancing neurons, drawn from early 20th Century medical investigations. Alongside are an array of expressions – ‘hit a raw nerve’, ‘what a nerve’, ‘a war of nerves’, ‘nerves of steel’ etc – phrases that we use every day to speak of capacity and endurance subtracted from the crucial word ‘nerve’. This gesture builds a poetic incompleteness from an abstract, almost code-like pattern that viewers can attempt to decipher. This work acts as the underbelly and passageway from one artist’s space to another.

  • Escapement and Night & Day, Day & Night
  • Escapement
  • Night & Day, Day & Night
  • Be-Taal
  • Nerves
  • Nerves
  • Chromachron