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The Illegitimate Archivist

or how to do things with words, or words with things, and with books and anarchists, and grandmothers and shells with video games of encyclopaedias in Styrofoam glasses  and archaeologists, with no memories, but nostalgia with taxonomies and fading ink or with all of the above.

A presentation by Shubigi Rao

Introduced and moderated by Sarover Zaidi

Shubigi Rao is an artist, writer, master storyteller and compulsive archivist. Her work interests include neuroscience, ecologies and natural history, libraries, histories and lies, philosophy, history of science, and literature. Her immersive and tongue-in-cheek books, artworks and installations employ puns (textual and visual) and wordplay, and experiment with a diverse range of themes and methods, from creating archaeological archives of garbage, writing ‘How To’ manuals for building a nation and a culture from scratch, to discovering and diagnosing peculiar forms of urban malaise where digital dandruff and pixel dust accumulate like lint and cloud the contemporary brain, and building immortal jellyfish.

Shubigi presented her work on a Sokalian character S Raoul, who besides being a scientist and archaeologist, was also a mentor and patron of sorts to the younger Rao, who eventually became his biographer. He was much enamoured of her work as he felt sympathy with her more reactionary but ultimately futile politics, and even collected her River of Ink books. It was also what killed him.

Shubigi has written 6 books (or more), her solo shows include Written in the Margins (2017), The Retrospectacle of S. Raoul (2013) and Useful Fictions (2013). She was also selected for the 10th Taipei Biennial (2016), the 3rd Pune Biennale (2017), and her commissioned work The Tuning Fork of the Mind for the 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008) was later shown in Beijing (2012) and Copenhagen (2013). Her recent awards include a year-long residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, (June 2016 – May 2017).

For more on Shubigi’s work, see her website.

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