Raqs Media Collective: Casebook
Art Gallery of York University, 2014
6×9.5 in, 300 pp, 120+ col, smyth-sewn softcover
“To abstract a definition for the Raqs Media Collective (Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) or to locate their activity in the static result of artworks would be to fail in our conspiratorial task of passing along, even if only by means of a whispering campaign, the doubts that they themselves have sown. These doubts sometimes are obscured, though, doubly so: on the one hand, in the assurance of the very existence of artworks that they produce as a collective (work that this book documents); on the other hand, through a certain tone of writing, indeed, a tone of certainty that pervades whatever they write (texts which are absent here).
“Raqs Media Collective’s activity is only partly its products: that is, its artworks. For a collective that developed from documentary film origins and whose name—Raqs—derives from the whirling of dervishes, the “products” are only the articulation of a process. Each is a moment in an overarching scheme—a scheme though that is transversal, not end oriented. And if these products seem to suggest themselves as the last moment, as if the finalization of a design, we are mislead as to their importance. Rather, they are nodal points in a network, temporary on-off switches, whose potential branching set us off on new movements—but also to soundings of new depths.”
(from “Introduction: The Cipher and the Sieve,” by Philip Monk)
This book documents roughly 80 artworks and projects by the Raqs Media Collective that were undertaken from 2002 through 2012. Ranging from full-scale curatorial projects through to individual prints, these projects are documented in aphoristic ‘Annotations’ and iconic images, and are further elucidated with essays from past collaborators, including Svetlana Boym, Kaushik Bhowmik, Alexander Keefe, Anders Kreuger, Molly Nesbit, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Parul Dave Mukherji, Jonathan Watkins, Elena Bernardini, Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Theodor Ringborg, and Cédric Vincent.
Designed by Lisa Kiss, this book is an essential guide to understanding the practice of Raqs Media Collective.
This publication were generously sponsored by Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex.