Delhi Event

What Time Is It? Technologies of life in the contemporary

Delhi, 14-16 December 2017

Have we finally entered the End of the End of History (E-flux, 2014)? Recent media technological transformations have thrown into confusion many existing political and social theories—art, media philosophy, politics, biology; in fact all ideas of life presented in the last century. Are these the jumbled signs of ‘our’ contemporaneity? The idea of the contemporary has been around for a few decades, seen variously as a period, a critical gesture, and a disciplinary frame for literature and art. We believe the time is right to revisit the idea of the contemporary from a different lens, outside the closeted frameworks of a Euro-American debate where contemporaneity appears as a unstable successor to modernity and postmodernity.

In the past decade we have seen the worldwide spread of media and information networks. Since value is now gained from experience, new corporations and political parties deploy strategies of agglomeration using digital media technologies. Growing computational grids inaugurate storage and surveillance technologies that are affecting fields like the environment, finance and law. Machine time disturbs historical continuity and sequence. Genetic engineering and life storage technologies disrupt the idea of the biological life span; media memory and recording technologies have already transformed the lives of mobile phone users in the world. Media-enabled populations in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now part of a new infrastructure of the senses. New technologies are being retailed, even researched in India and China by media corporations; Africa is one of the global pioneers in mobile money. Surveillance and biometric technologies loom large in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Since 2000 digital infrastructures have produced a new generation of art and media practitioners. Like the West, capitalist enterprises in Asia, Africa and Latin America are facing new challenges and opportunities with informational networks. Like everywhere, such transformations have set in motion a sense of indetermination and flux, providing opportunities, shadow zones and critical discourses.

This conference, part of an international network to research and engage the contemporary, seeks to explore experience from the vantage point of these media-informational transformations. We will be debating art practice, cultural theory, media aesthetics, social theory, forensics, urbanism, and the landscape of the political. Time horizons and its philosophies are a major concern of the conference, as we seek to displace the idea of the contemporary as (just) a ‘present’ without limits.

Draft Programme

Day One: 14th DecemberDay Two: 15th DecemberDay Three: 16th December

The landscape of the Digital

Opening Event:

Ravi Sundaram and Leverhulme Network Partners


The Digital Object

  • Orit Halpern, Concordia University, Montreal
  • Yuk Hui, Leuphana University, Germany

Technics and Forensics

  • Seda Gurses, Department of Electrical Engineering, Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium
  • Lawrence Abu Hamadan, Artist Berlin
  • Lorenzo Pezzani, Goldsmith College London
  • Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Raqs Media Collective, Delhi (Respondent)

Video and PostCinema

  • Mochu, Independent artist, Chennai
  • Pallavi Paul, independent artist Delhi
  • Liu Tian, Curator, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China
  • Monica Narula, Raqs Media Collective (Respondent)

Independent Presentation

  • Moinak Biswas, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University


The unstable Archive

Theme Introduction: Conference Team

Public Lecture: Berno Odo Polzer, Maerzmusik, Berlin

Cinema/ Contemporary Art

  • May Ingawanij, University of Westminster, London
  • Ashish Rajyadhaksha, Centre for the Studies in Culture and Society, Bangalore
  • Ranjani Mazumdar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi (Respondent)
  • Ravi Vasudevan, Sarai CSDS, (Respondent)

Independent Presentation

The landscape of the Object: Lara Khaldi Curator, Ramallah, Palestine

The Archive Object

  • Venkat Srinivasan, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore
  • Michelle Wong, Asian Art Archive, Hong Kong
  • Sabih Ahmed, Independent Curator, Delhi.
  • Monica Narula, Raqs Media Collective, (Respondent)

Evening Public Lecture

Keller Easterling, School Of Architecture, Yale University

Aesthetics and Politics

Theme Introduction: Conference Team

The landscape of the Political

  • Santosh Sadanandan, School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University
  • Faisal Devji, Oxford University
  • Prathama Banerjee, CSDS, Delhi
  • Acceleration?

Independent Lecture

  • Mohammed Salemy, New Centre for Research and Practice, New York
  • Respondent: Jeebesh Bagchi , Raqs Media Collective

Money, Media, Space

  • Aarti Sethi, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University
  • Prasad Shetty, School of Environment and Architecture, Mumbai
  • Lantian Xie, Dubai, artist
  • Respondent: Sumandro Chattopadyaya, Centre for Internet and Society