Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Raqs Media Collective

Raqs Media Collective is based in Delhi, IndiaRaqs, Sarai-CSDS, 29 Rajpur Road, Delhi 110054,

The Time Book
Installation with Telephone pole, video projections, enamel screen print on stainless steel, enamel screen prints on acrylic, digital ink-jet on galvanized steel, digital screen, clocks, fiberglass insulation, paint.
"The hours, marked by sirens, grow thin with age.The last siren is also a klaxon."(from Ceasural 1, companion of Ceasural 2, two short films in Time Book)
Every factory has a time book. The time book is an index of the value of a worker's time. It records hours, minutes and money, and acts as the memory machine of a factory.
A resurrected telephone pole curves an airy diagonal in time. Messages, once transmitted from its trunk, scatter across like busy ciphers, whispering, working. A curious ornamental creature in fiery orange shines on stainless steel, remembering an inventive steel worker's stolen leisure. Roads snake to several nowheres, perhaps passing towns called Harmony, Industry, Enterprise, Economy. Clocks stand frozen at the moment of the sounding of the last siren. A strange illumination hovers close to the ground. 'Time Book' stands poised between resilient memory and grateful amnesia.

Reverse Engineering with the Euphoria Machine

'Euphoria Machine is the name we give to the apparatus of desire and cognition that seeks to create a consensus within society for boundless energy and wealth, and effaces all doubts and dissent about the ways in which this energy and wealth must be acquired.
Crucially, the material that fuels the Euphoria Machine is desire, more specifically it is a particularly frenetic form of the quest for energy, happiness and satisfaction that overrides all other considerations. Sometime after the second World War, Edward Louis Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, a key strategist of war-time propaganda campaigns and the intellectual god-father of the advertising and public relations industry, applied a key discovery he had made during the fashioning of war propaganda to the future success of Capitalism. The discovery was this - in no other war in Human History, had wars been fought in the name of democracy, peace and prosperity. They had been fought for land, for the expansion of a particular dynasty or ruling groups power, for religious zeal and for other concretely political purposes. The propaganda campaigns of the Second World War however, successfully named a different kind of motivation for war - the desire for happiness, peace, prosperity and liberty. The identification of common virtues with the war machine proved to be a very successful motivator.
Once the war ended, Bernays realized that the same process could be replicated in 'peacetime' only this time, people must be made to realize that contributing their labour to capital, or buying goods that they did not necessarily need (in order to keep the machine of capital running) could also be done by identifying these acts with basic human drives for beauty, health, happiness, love, joy and contentment. So, people were told that they could feel a profound happiness, if they bought a shoe, or went to work in a call centre. This was a subtle but significant shift, in that it divorced a good from its function. A shoe, for instance was no longer something that covered and protected your feet, instead, it became a key to your personal well being. A job was no longer something you did to earn a living, it became a mark of your special identity as a human being. The building blocks of Capital were internalized as personal drives.
To us, this marriage between deep seated internal drives and the running of the vast impersonal network of a global economy is the secret of the 'Euphoria Machine'. It is also the material that fuels the machine. The extraction of this material both requires as well as results in the subordination of the complexity of human life-expreciences to the needs of capital.
Shown at:Chalo India, Mori Museum, Tokyo, November 22 2008 to March 15 2009National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea, April 15 2009 to June 7, 2009Essl Museum, Austria, Summer 2009

Love is Engineering
'Portable Object (Plexiglass, Transparency, Drawing, Text)
This limited edition portable object fuses transparencies of mechanical drawing encased in plexiglass sheets, the clouded light of dawn and the rudimentary text of the screenplay of an imaginary film sequence to speak of the quotidian battle between love and time, fought over the delicate terms of the silent departure of a man from his lover's bed.'

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