By Aseem Kulkarni

The National Gallery of Modern Art Delhi is bringing to you, Asmayavali/The Untimely Calendar, a mesmerising retrospective exhibition by the Raqs Media Collective. This exhibition transforms the NGMA into a magical laboratory questioning time and space, using the collective’s past and current work.

Raqs Media Collective was formed in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and Monica Narula while they were attending Jamia Milia Islamia University. With a career spanning over twenty years, they have exhibited in London, Tokyo, and Venice, amongst many others. Calling them simply artists doesn’t do Raqs justice. They are filmmakers, performers, architects, curators, and philosophers. Their name stems from  words in Persian, Arabic, and Urdu, and means the state that whirling dervishes enter into when they whirl. Along with this definition, their name refers to the acronym Rarely Asked Questions.

Asmayavali/ The Untimely Calendar certainly lives up to the Raqs name. This multi-layered exhibition twists and turns the way we think about time, by finding lost constellations in the sky, arguing with the epics, reflecting on the urban condition, and considering the drudgery of the labouring body. The show invites audiences to not just converse, but to feel these questions: by relying on videos, installations, language, and performance to provoke, delight, and unsettle our senses.

Works on display include A Day in the Life of Kiribati. Kiribati is a small Pacific island that was the first to see the Millennium sunrise, and when global warming takes effect, will be the first to wash away. This work is sure to resonate with any typical Delhiwaala. The work consists of a modern round face lit up with LED lights. The hour and minute hands point to different emotions instead of numbers. To have this ordinary object point and reflect a combination of complex emotions and feelings at certain times, is just one of about forty works that playfully yet accurately question the way you think and feel about time.

Now is the time {ironically} to check out this exhibition. Let Raqs take you on a journey through this maze of space and time at the National Gallery of Modern Art. Raqs Collective’s prolific range across different media is one that Delhiites cannot afford to miss.

Timings: On display until the 8th of February 2015, Opens daily from 10am to 5pm, Closed on Mondays and National Holidays

Where: National Gallery of Modern Art, Jaipur House, Dr Zakir Hussain Marg, India Gate

Price: INR 10 for Indians, INR 1 for Students/Children, and INR 150 for Foreigners