A Lost Future

“Why do Indian artists produce so little science fiction?” asks the narrator in the Otolith Group’s film Otolith II (2007), a transtemporal consideration of modernity in urban India. The same narrator replies, “Satyajit Ray’s film The Alien would have rendered this question void. It is this emptiness that allows a nostalgia for a lost future.”

The three-part exhibition A Lost Future challenges existing histories and speculative futures across cultures and in Bengal—a culturally rich region divided in the partition of 1947 into the Indian state of West Bengal and East Pakistan, which was liberated to become Bangladesh in 1971. The artists featured in the exhibition—Shezad Dawood, the Otolith Group, and Matti Braun—have deep research-based practices that often take South Asian cultural histories as their subjects. They engage an evocative range of mediums spanning virtual reality to an immersive lake, along with painting, film, sculpture, and photography. Through rich storytelling and an interconnected, layered approach, A Lost Future explores themes of virtuality, modernity, and world-making in ways that are both universal and specific to the region. A Lost Future presents works by all the artists throughout the run, with the central cove rotating to highlight each one individually.

A Lost Future: The Otolith Group (June 1–September 17) presents the world premiere of the filmmakers’ new work on the past and present of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s radical, pioneering art school Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan, including its pedagogy of “tree schooling,” whereby lessons take place under the shade of trees. The exhibition also includes a selection of earlier films, including the group’s “premake” of Satyajit Ray’s unmade film The Alien, titled Otolith III (2009).

A selection of earlier films, including their “premake” of Ray’s unmade film The Alien, titled Otolith III (2009), were screened in the Rubin Museum theater on select dates.

Exhibition stills © David De Armas Photography

Project Category
solo exhibition