Twilight language is a polysemic language and communication system associated with Tantric traditions in Vajrayana Buddhism and Hinduism. Its texts are often written in a form that is incomprehensible to the uninitiated reader, as part of an esoteric tradition of initiation. The term connotes subtly, nuance and most of all, another, deeper way of understanding.
Twilight Language is also the title of the internationally acclaimed Raqs Media Collective’s first major UK exhibition, intended as a ‘lighthouse semaphore’ for all that is lost and found between errant longitudes, infected histories and contagious futures. The show opens at Whitworth Art Gallery as part of a city-wide programme of exhibitions and events reflecting on the shared heritage and historic connections between South Asia and the North of England.
In their own, rather lyrical words, the Delhi-based artists/curators/researchers/philosophical provocateurs have set about creating a show that will “unravel worlds, make questions, haunt memorials, and follow the tangled threads of how histories and ways of thinking about emancipation intersect.” Inspired by Manchester’s own history, new commissions will include a series of video portraits of guardians of the city’s history, and a 3D printed response to the fluttering motion of the Peppered Moth (a variety that gained its distinctive, soot-like colouring as a consequence of air pollution during the Industrial Revolution).
Several other, previously existing works will also be shown, including The Necessity of Eternity (2017) which met with great critical success at 13th Sharjah Binnale earlier this year. The performance recounts what has been described as ‘one of the most exciting yet neglected exchanges in the intellectual history of the world’. A series of letters written in 999CE between two young men exploring ideas of the universe and our place within it.
Altogether, Twilight Language looks set to offer an intriguing new perspective on our relationship to time, place, history and ideas.