RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE:
ART IN THE AGE OF COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
IF THE WORLD IS A FAIR PLACE THEN...
October 16, 2015–
February 14, 2016
Curator of Exhibitions
October 15, 2015
Laumeier presents an exhibition by Raqs Media Collective, a New Delhi-based cooperative with a politically charged artistic and theoretical practice. Their publicly-engaged, sculptural intervention was sparked by a visit to Laumeier, where their research on the problematic history of World's Fairs began. Laumeier initiated a research collaboration with Raqs by inviting our audience—through personal visits to the Park, online via Laumeier’s website and social media outlets, or through other Laumeier-initiated opportunities, including EXPO Chicago—to respond to the prompt, "If the World is a Fair Place, Then…" From these various outlets, Laumeier was able to gather more than 500 responses to share with the artists to inspire and help formulate their idea for a sculptural installation of 40 stainless-steel bands encircling tree trunks in the Park, plus a textual installation to open the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center.
Culturally, the Raqs Media Collective is interested in the polyphony of the crowd and not the chosen few; therefore the artists felt that the submitted positions, ideas, thoughts and feelings should become "etched" into the present for the future. Keeping in mind that Laumeier's texture is one of landscape and nature, they plan to create a work that illustrates an amulet or charm, creating an embrace of promise and invoking references to the early history of the ecology movement in the Himalayan region of north India, alongside the course histories and traces of Native American histories in our area.
The Raqs Media Collective was founded in 1992 by independent media practitioners Jeebesh Bagchi, (b. 1965, New Delhi, India), Monica Narula, (b. 1969, New Delhi, India) and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, (b. 1968, New Delhi, India). They are described as artists, media practitioners, curators, researchers, editors and catalysts of cultural processes. In 2001, Raqs co-founded Sarai at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in New Delhi where they coordinate media productions, pursue and administer independent research and practice projects, and work as members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader series. They have had solo exhibitions at The Tate Britain and Frith Street Gallery, London; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong and the Walker Art Center. The collective has exhibited around the world, including Manifesta 7 in Trentino (which they co-curated); the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow; the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial in 2010, the 8th Shanghai Biennale in 2010; Emocao Art.ficial, Sao Paolo; Nature Morte Gallery, New Delhi; Bose Pacia Gallery, New York; Roomade Office for Contemporary Art, Brussels; Serpentine Gallery, London; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; Mori Museum, Tokyo; Istanbul Biennial in 2007; Ogaki Biennale of New Media Art in 2006; 51st Venice Biennale in 2005; Taipei Biennial in 2004 and Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany, in 2002. They live and work in New Delhi, India.
“Raqs” is a word in Persian, Arabic and Urdu that refers to the state that "whirling dervishes" enter into when they whirl.