RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE
If the World is a Fair Place Then..., 2015
Courtesy the artists, New Delhi
In many of their projects, the Raqs Media Collective explores the differences between language, history and culture. Raqs’ outdoor commission explores this interest in the collective murmur of the crowd and the poetry in their reply. This intervention also centers on the notion of “fairness,” or justice and an inquiry into the history of World’s Fairs. A visit to 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis exhibition at the Missouri History Museum by Raqs member Jeebesh Bagchi prompted a query into the notion of “fair” and its double meaning. Taking fairness into account, St. Louis is a perfect place for asking the question, "What can a “fair” that talks about fairness in the world be?" In 2014, Laumeier initiated a research collaboration with Raqs by inviting our audience to respond to the prompt, "If the World is a Fair Place Then…" From various media and exhibition 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 along Laumeier’s Art Hike Trail. Responses ranged from the deliciously innocent, “free ice cream for kids,” to the cynical “then I’m shocked,” to the surreal, “then all coins will dance.” The crowd-sourced input, ideas, thoughts and feelings have been “re-read” by the artists and become "etched" into the present as future artifacts.
Sculpture Interaction Guideline: Look, But Do Not Touch
Raqs Media Collective was formed in 1991 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 coordinated media productions, pursued and administered independent research and practice projects and also worked as members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader series. They have had solo exhibitions at The Tate Britain and Frith Street Gallery in London; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Centro de Arte dos de Mayos (CA2M), Madrid; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Cambridge and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Raqs has exhibited in group exhibitions and art fairs worldwide, including 56th Venice Bienale 2015; 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, 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.