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Real Time Tactics

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The Planning Commission, which promulgated five-year plans to develop the nation, has been replaced by the NITI Aayog, a body that’s always-on, continually producing data, proactive and responsive. The India Stack links the Aadhaar database, containing the retina scans and fingerprints of almost every person in the country, with various governance and private initiatives via infrastructure provided by large corporations. On social media we are continually haunted by the traces we leave of our lives in all their microinteractive detail.

This is real time, a continual present coproduced by corporations and the state. Our actions are tracked and our dispositions calculated faster than the blink of an eye. Traditional forms of dissent and spaces of difference are coming up everywhere against a heady combination of Search Engine Optimisation, algorithmic manipulation and old-fashioned coercion. 

In response, Real Time Tactics proposes interventions in the active but invisible forms that undergird this temporality: the ubiquitous smartphones and mobile internet that enable both networked sociality and digital governance; the corporations and government programmes that promote these technologies; the surveillance systems they contain that generate the data for digital profiles; the presumed congruence of these profiles with the self. 

Commissioned art projects, activist interventions and primary materials come together here in a range of engagements with real time. Some use the social media that form the basis for our social lives. Others are carefully planned strategies requiring technical expertise and collaboration. Yet others are representations of the networks of power and capital that create real time itself. 

This exhibition is an attempt at a conversation between artistic and activist practices of infrastructure towards liberatory ends.


Aadhaar Ecosystem Map by Vidyut, Nayantara Ranganathan and Manuel Beltrán,, Karthik KG, Ghost Portal, Sonam and Suvani with Agat, Kaushal, Sibdas, Jaydev and Shiv —out-of-Line—, Real Time Governance Society with tweets by Srinivas Kodali

Other Projects