1980 in parallax

The Cosmic House

19 April22 December 2023

1980 in parallax is an exhibition by Raqs Media Collective that centres around a new film commission, The Bicyclist Who Fell into a Time Cone – a poetic reflection on perceptions of a particular moment in history while moving through time, past and present, interrogating varied geographies of perceived centres and peripheries.

The opening of the exhibition launches the Jencks Foundation’s first research theme, ‘isms and ‘wasms: 1980 in parallax, an exercise in re-mapping the year 1980. A significant moment in Charles Jencks’ intellectual history, it marks the opening of the first ever Venice Architecture Biennale entitled The Presence of the Past, which famously announced Post-Modernism as the international mainstream of architecture. It proposed a new canon that was to be more inclusive and polyphonic, and sought to embrace a diversity of narratives, a variety of styles, contradictions and irony, although it completely failed to account for anything outside the Western canon. Thus 1980 in parallax looks back – once again – in order to look forward and reconsider the Post-Modern canon from the critical distance of forty-three years and to reinvigorate the pluralism suggested by the Biennale and Charles in the light of our present time.

For the past three decades, Raqs Media Collective’s work has been located at the intersections of contemporary art, historical enquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory; a hybrid practice and methodology that finds correspondence with Charles’ work as designer, critic and historian. Raqs Media Collective follow their imperative of ‘kinetic contemplation’ to destabilise mainstream narratives and ‘what is taken for granted’. They share an affinity with The Cosmic House, a built thought experiment bridging the worlds of the physical and the virtual, imbued by metaphor, ambiguity, double-coding, and irony.

Beginning in the gallery of The Cosmic House with a new film commission, the exhibition continues throughout the house as an Artificial Reality installation. Visits to the exhibition are included in the standard ticket to visit The Cosmic House.