Detail: In the Otolith Group’s transtemporal consideration of modernity in urban India, the narrator questions, “Why do Indian artists produce so little science fiction?” The reply: “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 between present-day India and Bangladesh. The three contemporary artists featured in the exhibition—Shezad Dawood, the Otolith Group, and Matti Braun—engage an evocative range of mediums that spans virtual reality to an immersive lake along with painting, film, sculpture, and photography. Through rich storytelling, A Lost Future explores themes of virtuality, modernity, and world-making in ways that are universal as well as interconnected and specific to this region.
A Lost Future presents still works by all three artists throughout the run, while the central cove will rotate to highlight each one individually.
A Lost Future: Shezad Dawood (February 23–May 18, 2018) features an interactive virtual reality experience of the Indian hill station Kalimpong, linking a haunting nostalgic portal to a future alternative reality. Expanding on some of the sites and stories in Dawood’s paintings and sculptures on view, the virtual reality work allows visitors to travel from the mythic Himalayan Hotel into the mountains, an adjacent monastery, and beyond.
A Lost Future: The Otolith Group (June 1–September 17, 2018) presents the world premiere of the Turner Prize–nominated filmmakers’ new work on the past, present, and future of the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s radical, pioneering art school Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan, as well as a selection of earlier films, including their “premake” of Ray’s unmade film The Alien, titled Otolith III (2009).
A Lost Future: Matti Braun (October 5, 2018–January 28, 2019)transforms the central gallery into an immersive lake that visitors can traverse. R.T., S.R., V.S. (2003–present) references the lotus pond in the first scene of Ray’s The Alien,in which a friendly, catalytic alien from another time and place lands in a village. It also draws inspiration from the first scene in Steven Spielberg’s E.T., which may have been directly influenced by Ray’s script.