AboutRaqs Media Collective Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta are artists based in New Delhi. They make work that âlocates them at the intersections of contemporary art, historical enquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory'.
For Ikon's Eastside programme, Raqs has created When the Scales Fall From Your Eyes, an ambitious new installation that is at once visually arresting and intriguing through complex symbolism. It suggests a ritual for some contemporary cult, obsessed with weights and measures (and measurement in general) as keys to the mysteries and purposes of existence. The burden of calculation that all of us carry today has its own codes and conventions. The ubiquity of measuring devices (scales, rulers and meters of all kinds) on the surface of everyday life and the proliferation of indicators of quanta of different categories pleasure, liberty, health, happiness, energy and potency which pepper our discourse, suggest that
we need to reflect on how much we value âmuchness' for its own sake.
When the Scales Fall From Your Eyes is devised to encourage a contemplative practice of considering âmuchness'. The relative weights of things, desires, dreams, obsessions and habits are arranged to add up to
a wide spectrum of man-made items.
The installation features an array of glass cast busts, mounted with heads made of weighing scales. The items and assemblages placed on the scales comprise a beachcomber's treasure trove, ranging from the useless and the absurd, with detours into violence, fetishism, preciousness and straightforward banality. The assemblages are read as the âcontents' of the characters' heads, providing an estimate of their weightiness.
These creatures face a large fat circle of light that changes colour. Does this radiant circle, insubstantial but for the illumination it produces, allow us to see our calipers and devices, our machines for knowing the amount of everything and the value of nothing, in a new light? Can the scales fall from our eyes?
The promise and dystopia of relentless measurement, the fantasy of controlling life by owning things and the melancholia of empty illumination, all figure in this challenging new project. With this work, Raqs Media Collective investigate the shore of a strange new ocean.