Time Book 2007

Raqs Media Collective
India: New Installations, Part II, September 7, 2007 – January 20, 2008
telephone pole, video projection, clocks, paint, enamel screen print on stainless steel, enamel screen prints on acrylic, digital ink-jet on galvanized steel, digital screen

Hanging on the wall across from the entrance are four non-working factory time clocks The hand of each clock is set to the digits...


Hanging on the wall across from the entrance are four non-working factory time clocks. The hand of each clock is set to the digits: 1-9-8-6, the year a number of steel mills in the area closed.

An old telephone pole rest at a 60-degree angle with one end mounted to the floor and the other end mounted to a beam in the ceiling. A light bulb hangs from the high end of the pole almost reaching the floor.

Beyond the pole a sheet of stainless steel hangs from the beam with a silk-screened orange image of a sculpture made by a steel worker. The lower parts of the windows are silk-screened with images of industrial ductwork and rust stains. The upper parts remain clear showing the skyline of the hillside.

A flat screen plays multiple stills of an image taken inside an abandoned steel mill. Video projections on sheets of steel contain images of 1930s archival photographs of Carrie Furnace and Homestead Works. Another shows images simultaneously divided in half like the frame of a window- the upper half of the video, abandoned steel mill reclaimed by nature, the bottom half shows smoke from a factory billowing in the sky.

To the right of the entrance hangs a long rectangular aluminum panel with 19 silk-screened images of the surface of a road. The far window shows a silk-screened image of a broken window frame from an old steel mill in the lower frame of the window. The above frame is clear with a view of Pittsburgh’s skyline buildings. A portion of the fire escape in view is painted metallic silver.

Special thanks to the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area, Homestead, PA.

Artist Statement

We are most interested in the texture of memory. How it is lined…what kinds of stains and blots and markings- like the telephone pole. It’s not a smooth structure anymore. Time has layered it. The work has many different ways of trying to understand what we see in Pittsburgh now…. All the things we have collected have the texture of an imprint, that’s why the piece is called “Time Book”. It has that texture from the materials we engaged- from the archives of Rivers of Steel to the streets…. What we are trying to do… is present a consideration on the delusion of the permanence of anything.

About the Artist

Raqs Media Collective includes Jeebesh Bagchi (b. 1965), Monica Narula (b. 1969) and Shuddhabrata Sengupta (b. 1968). They began working together in 1991. Raqs is a word in Persian, Arabic and Urdu that means the state that “whirling dervishes” enter into when the dance. Raqs Media Collective is a collective of media practitioners that work in new media and digital art, documentary filmmaking, photography, media theory, research and writing. Their work explores issues and histories of the sites and places they work. In addition to Documenta and the Venice Biennale, their work has been shown at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Liverpool Biennial, and the Guangzhou Triennial. Raqs Media Collective was awarded the Unesco-DigiArts award at ISEA 2004, and in 2006 was invited to co-curate the show “On Difference” in Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Germany. They live and work in New Delhi, India.