CAA - Contemporary Art Archipelago

Raqs Media Collective

Monica Narula (1969), Jeebesh Bagchi (1965) and Shuddhabrata Sengupta (1968). Live and work in New Delhi, India.

Raqs Media Collective, founded in 1992, have been variously described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors and catalysts of cultural processes. Their practice locates them at the intersections of contemporary art, historical enquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory.

The work of Raqs Media Collective takes often the form of installations, online and offline media objects, performances and encounters. Their practice engages in particular with urban spaces and global circuits, the relationship of myth and histories, the questions of identity and location, and the critique of power and property. Their poetic works are always informed by thorough critical enquiry, which resonates with their back ground in documentary filmmaking. Their works range from, for example, a gallery installation of clocks marking time with words, which capture the urban, globally shared everyday experience, to a site-specific installation addressing the interwoven collective and personal memories as projected by a lighthouse inserted into a closed-down community cinema.

Raqs Media Collective co-founded in 2001 Sarai, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). From there Raqs coordinate media productions and independent projects, pursue interdisciplinary creative work, and also work as members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader publication series.

On their first visit to Turku archipelago in 2010 their attention was drawn to the mirage effects of the late summer as well as to the low salinity of the Baltic Sea. The biologists confirmed their doubts: the Baltic is not actually a sea at all but brackish water, like a large river estuary, and this is were its problems and fragility as an ecosystem largely stem from.

Raqs Media Collective has exhibited widely, including the Biennales of Istanbul (2007), Sydney (2006), Venice (2005, 2003), Liverpool (2004), Taipei (2004), as well as Guanzhou Triennale (2005) and Documenta 11 (Kassel 2002). Recent solo exhibitions in e.g. Museum of Modern Art (Warsaw, 2010), Baltic (Gateshead UK 2010), Tate Britain (London, 2009), Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, 2009), Palais de Beaux Arts (Brussels, 2004), and group exhibitions in e.g. Astrup Fernley Museum (Oslo 2009), SFMoMA (2008), Mori Museum (Tokyo 2008), MuHKA (Antwerp 2008, 2006), Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh 2007), Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2003), Ars Electronica (Linz 2002). They were co-curators of Manifesta 7 (Italy 2008) and of Indian Highway (Serpentine Gallery, London, 2008-ongoing).

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