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Raqs Media Collective, "Undertow," 2012.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

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Raqs Media Collective ,
Installation, performance,
Courtesy Studio Raqs Media Collective.

Raqs Media Collective is a trio of artist theorists formed in 1992 in New Delhi. Before becoming involved in the dense terrain of the international art world, they worked together on documentaries. In 2000, and with the support of Indian universities, the collective’s members founded Sarai (, a center for research on media and the city located in New Delhi. That their work is often difficult to catalogue is due to their simultaneous practices as artists, critics, curators, writers, filmmakers, editors, and media theorists who work in video, installation, photography, text, Internet, and performance. It is thanks to them that Jacques Rancière’s Proletarian Nights was translated into Hindi and published in 2009. This led to the video diptych, Strike at Time (2011), which, like much of their work, was inspired by the sprawling city of New Delhi, read here through the prism of Rancière.

For Raqs, workshops and conferences offer a privileged means of expression that allows them to develop their concerns, most notably taking up and contradicting the categories and coherent forms of modernity, and in particular notions of progress and development. Their method is inscribed in a poetic register with a ludic approach to images and archives (notably colonial ones), language, and memory. Stories and heroes from the Mahābhārata also appear from time to time in their work.

For the Biennale Bénin, Raqs proposes to organize a series of events and meetings at the Centre Kora over several days. On the program are discussions, screenings, and a meal. Beyond being the first presentation of their work on the African continent, these meetings will to put the public in contact with the different material and conceptual elements of their work, including elements of their studio, which will be transported to Cotonou. These conditions of conviviality and sharing are likely to enact a stimulating exchange across continents, perhaps also putting back on the agenda Lemuria, that legendary lost continent in the Indian Ocean that connects India to southern Africa.