The bicyclist who fell into a time cone

The Bicyclist who fell into a Time Cone’ oscillates between fact and fiction while hovering over the year 1980. It was a crepuscular time. A time of thresholds and transience. The memory of a bicyclist, sitting still, holding on to the handlebars, watching an aeroplane spiral down from the sky over Delhi to a crash, remains vivid. The descent of that aircraft was a turn in time, a move along a spiral, a bracket opening and closing like a pause between years of tumult and upheaval. This bracket, this pause, left a significant mark on our collective imaginaries, even though it also felt as if nothing much happened that year. 

Shot in New Delhi’s hinterland, places of wilderness in-between and at the edge of other places, it sees Raqs Media Collective experiment with new visual textures achieved through nesting, embedding, and juxtaposing contemporary footage with found archival images, some of which have been sourced from Jencks travels in India in the 1980s. This polyphony of visual registers is accompanied by a single voice narration; a monologue about time, memory, and history that lapses between scales of temporality and implies a spectral plurality of time. The film’s main protagonist is the figure of the bicyclist whose circular and repetitive journey invokes an explorative and meditative mood. Using temporal and geographical zooms, shifts and overlays a contemplative landscape is created, at once personal and public. 

  • Raqs Media Collective
  • Raqs Media Collective
  • Jencks Foundation
  • Monica Narula
  • Moomal
    Key Cast
    "The Bicyclist "
  • Rajan Singh
  • Ish S
    Sound Design
  • Shamsher Ali
  • Pradeep Gosain
  • Oorja G
    Archival Research
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes 5 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4K
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 1980 in Parallax
    United Kingdom
    April 4, 2023
    Jencks Foundation at The Cosmic House
Director Biography - Raqs Media Collective

Raqs Media Collective (* 1992, by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta).

The word “raqs” in several languages denotes an intensification of awareness and presence attained by whirling, turning, being in a state of revolution. Raqs take this sense to mean ‘kinetic contemplation’ and a restless and energetic entanglement with the world, and with time. Raqs practices across several media; making installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, lexica, and curation. Their work finds them at the intersection of contemporary art, philosophical speculation and historical enquiry.

Raqs has exhibited widely, including at Documenta, the Venice, Istanbul, Taipei, Liverpool, Shanghai, Sydney and Sao Paulo Biennales. Some solo exhibitions (and projects) include “1980 in Parallax” at The Cosmic House, Jencks Foundation, London (2023); “Laughter of Tears” at Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany  (2021); “Pamphilos” at Fast Forward Festival 6, Athens (2019); “Still More World” at Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019); “Twilight Language” at Manchester Art Gallery (2017-2018); “Everything Else is Ordinary” at K21 Museum for 21st Century Art, Dusseldorf (2018); “If It’s Possible, It’s Possible”, MUAC, Mexico City (2015) and “Untimely Calendar” at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (2014-2015).

Exhibitions curated by Raqs include “In The Open or in Stealth” (MACBA, Barcelona 2018 – 2019); “Why Not Ask Again” (Shanghai Biennale 2016-2017); “INSERT2014” (New Delhi, 2014) and “The Rest of Now” & “Scenarios” (Manifesta 7, Bolzano, 2008). They were the Artistic Directors of the Yokohama Triennale 2020, “Afterglow”, and recently exhibited “Hungry for Time”, which was an invitation to epistemic disobedience with the collections of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2021).

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Director Statement

"As a year 1980 didn’t quite break the headlines, it was also the year in which a different visual and optical sensibility, tied to the increasing presence of the video image and its slight ‘parallax’ began to make itself visible. That slight but significant sensory disjunction, the mis-registrations of the new video image, also marks the sensation of watching time simultaneously stand still and spiral out of control. ‘The Bicyclist Who Fell into a Parallax Time Cone’ is an investigation into the optics of this strange and specific sensation of time, which has become second nature since 1980. It is a time traveling search, aboard an imagined and remembered bicycle. Pedaling into that pause between turbulences, that lurks in every year. It’s as if there was/is a 1980, hidden, in every year."