press release

21 Personae: November 6, 2018–March 27, 2019, Encounters with people, places and collectives of Barcelona

The exhibition In the Open or in Stealth at MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, curated by Raqs Media Collective, will be a multi-layered site of discovery that explores the concept of a future in which multiple histories and geographies are placed in dialogue, giving way to a plurality of possibilities and queries by following paths that interlace, entwine and expose relations between objects, feelings and concepts, while simultaneously tracing indeterminate spaces between them.

A working list of artists includes Rosa Barba, Jeamin Cha, Mark Chung, Liao Fei, John Gerrard, Geumhyung Jeong, Hassan Khan, Charles Lim, Cristina Lucas, Kabelo Malatsie, Dillon Marsh, Huma Mulji, Mehreen Murtaza, Joe Nishizawa, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Bahar Noorizadeh, Lucy Parker, Racter, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Muhannad Shono, Tito Zungu and including new commissions as the projects by Rupali Gupte y Prasad Shetty, Bhagwati Prasad, Rohini Devasher, Abhishek Hazra, Ivana Franke, Lantian Xie, Marzia Farhana will be presented as well as the intervention by the Raqs Media Collective.

An extension of the exhibition will be a mediation programme—titled the 21 Personae—which will explore the urban fabric of our society through real-life stories of Barcelona’s diverse inhabitants. The project puts the Museum in dialogue with the city, resulting in a collection of urban chronicles.

Raqs Media Collective was founded in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. Artists curators, researchers, editors and philosophical agents provocateurs, the Collective’s work addresses connectedness, temporality and plenitude, and places them at the intersection of art, historical enquiry and philosophical speculation.

In the Open or in Stealth It is said that we know more about faraway galaxies than we do about the bottom of the oceans on Earth. One could say something similar about our relationship to the future. The distant future can seem more familiar than the deep present. We know it will come, regardless of whether or not we are around to witness it.

A realignment of resources, technologies and energies is taking place in the world right now. The intimation of this emergent ensemble, however, is faint and tangled. These trends, these new realities, are difficult to describe in the familiar languages of concert and conflict, affinity and antagonism, individuality and collectivity. Can tomorrow’s blur be a provisionally high-resolution image for here, for now?

Intermittent rebellions, sometimes accompanied by cybernetic suicide or sometimes by rogue algorithm raves, rise in tandem with attempts to exorcise the ghosts that haunt the machinery of capital. This is both commonplace, and it is the news. Different tenses, the present continuous and the future imperfect, are murmuring at each other like long-distance lovers at two ends of a jagged chat line.

Let us eavesdrop on this conversation.

21 Personae The programme for 21 Personae includes the same number of encounters with people, places and collectives in Barcelona. Together, they will attempt to transform the meaning and intensity of our experience of the city. It is also an investigation into “ways of meeting,” ways of being and interacting in the city. 21 Personae will run between November 2018 and March 2019, with one encounter every week.

The staging of 21 Personae in Barcelona extends the curatorial pulse of the exhibition In the Open or in Stealth by activating modes of sensing—shifting grounds, dispositional sediments and the potent scenarios of life out into the city. A group of curatorial practitioners associated with MACBA’s educational programme have crafted a specific Barcelona, to be expressed on the streets, in the squares, in public spaces and among public secrets.

Directed by: Raqs Media Collective, in collaboration with Aimar Arriola. Organizing committee (PEI - MACBA’s Independent Studies Programme 2017-2018)

21 Personae is included in Our Many Europes, a programme by the European museum confederation "L'Internationale" and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.