Over the past two decades, Raqs Media Collective has played a plurality of roles, as artists, curators and philosophical agent provocateurs. Combining these diverse practices, The Necessity of Infinity (2017) is a public reading performance that recounts one of the most exciting yet neglected exchanges, Al As’Ilah Wa’l Ajwibah [Questions and Answers], in the intellectual history of the world. In the year 999 CE, 28-year-old Al Beruni, sitting by the shores of the Aral Sea in Gurganj (present-day Turkmenistan), wrote a letter to the 18-year-old Ibn Sina, 250 miles away in Bukhara(presentday Uzbekistan). Over two years, the polymaths discussed their divergent readings of Aristotle’s understanding of heaven and the stars, debating whether we are alone in the universe.
Ibn Sina asserted that the consideration of infinity necessarily entailed the admissibility of many worlds other than our own. The reading performance will occur three times: first in