Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • Sahej Rahal
    born 1988
    active: India
  • Forerunner, 2013
  • Where object was made: Mumbai, India
  • single-channel video, 12 minutes 30 seconds
  • Courtesy of the artist and Chatterjee & Lal Gallery, Mumbai, India
  • Not on display
  • EL2016.012
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia", 11-Nov-2016
From the depths of space to Mughal architecture, from urban ruins to stock footage of Skylab, Forerunner enacts a temporal slippage that moves simultaneously from a deep past inhabited by shamans to a distant future where Jedi-inspired warriors battle with lightsabers. By cutting across time and space, Rahal crafts a lyrical and at times mysterious narrative that splices mythical characters with surreal performances, woven together by a text narrated in the silky voice of Bollywood actor Rehaan Engineer.
The voyage begins at Pir Gayab, a 14th-century observatory built by Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1309–1388) that doubled as a hunting lodge. The dual use of Pir Gayab propels Forerunner in its two principle directions: first, as a tale of masculine pursuits such as hunting in an unnamed empire, and second, as a space odyssey on the wings of birds that “shine like the sun.” The grand remains of the Mughal Empire contrast with derelict urban decay in present-day India. Forerunner concludes with views of Earth taken from Skylab overlaid with a stream-of-consciousness recital of associative catastrophes, tribulations, and wonders that the forerunner must endure and overcome.