THE ESSENTIAL… is a new series of conversations, hosted by Shumon Basar, where notable guests share the foundations of what they do, how they think — and the path that got them where that is. They list the books, films, albums, interviews, essays and anything else that proved formative in their own making, and which they’d pass on to future generations to discover anew. Since influences pass through time like gravitational waves, THE ESSENTIAL… becomes an intimate opportunity to be inspired by inspiration itself. Less concerned with historical canons, THE ESSENTIAL… is more like an open syllabus, annotated with autobiographical asides. The second edition of The Essential… will delve deep into the influences and creative trajectory of artist Michael Rakowitz, on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Asia and the Middle East.