Raqs Media Collective was formed in 1992 in Delhi, India by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. The word ‘raqs’ in several languages denotes an intensification of awareness and presence attained by whirling, turning, and being in a state of revolution. Raqs Media Collective takes this sense to mean ‘kinetic contemplation; a restless entanglement with the world and with time. Raqs enlists objects, such as an early-modern tiger-automata from Southern India, or a biscuit from the Paris Commune, or a cup salvaged from an ancient Mediterranean shipwreck, to turn them into devices to sniff and taste time. Devices unfold in this way in order to undertake historical subterfuge and philosophical inquiry. Raqs practices across several forms of media: installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, curation, and lexica. In 2000, they co-founded the Sarai program at CSDS, New Delhi, and ran it for a decade, where they innovated infrastructural conditions on the practices and production of knowledge. They also edited the nine-volume Sarai Reader series.
Raqs has exhibited widely, including at Documenta, The Venice, Istanbul, Taipei, Liverpool, Shanghai, Sydney, and Sao Paulo Biennales. They have had solo shows in museums and educational and independent art spaces in Boston, Brussels, Madrid, Delhi, Shanghai, London, New York, Toronto, Dusseldorf, Manchester, Doha, Buenos Aires, among many others. Works by Raqs are part of several contemporary art collections and museums. Their essays have been widely published.
Raqs curated Afterglow, Yokohama Triennale 2020, Why Not Ask Again, Shanghai Biennale 2016, The Rest of Now, Manifesta 7 (Bolzano, 2008), Sarai Reader 09 (Gurgaon, 2012-13) and INSERT2014 (Delhi, 2014), amongst others. Hungry for Time, an exhibition curated by them at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Vienna opens in October 2021.
The members of Raqs Media Collective live and work in Delhi, India. They are presently working on toxicity, care, and the luminosity of friendship.