RAQS Media CollectiveRAQS Media Collective

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RAQS Media Collective was formed in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, all independent media artists. However it was only when RAQS integrated with the Sarai Media Lab in 2000 that it gained recognition as a contemporary Indian art collective. RAQS is a Persian, Arabic and Urdu word for the state of consciousness that whirling dervishes enter into when they whirl. It also stands as the acronym for ‘Rarely Asked Questions’, the unearthing of which forms the basis of the collective’s artistic endeavour. 

Trained as documentary film makers, the three core members of RAQS play the varying roles of curators, editors, publishers, artists and media practitioners. Deeply connected with the politics of the urban, of globalization and the seeming dissolution of international boundaries, RAQS investigates spaces that have often been overlooked in Indian art. Operating through a unique mixture of artistic styles and genres, RAQS manipulates the dynamics of the local and the cultural as well as those of physical space, form and technique. Often referred to as ‘nomadic’, due to the flexibility of their artistic practice, RAQS transcends most of the limitations generally associated with art, exploring spaces much beyond its traditional scope. History, power, location, and identity are generally the most intriguing themes that are navigated by this collective. 

RAQS Media Collective has exhibited all over the world. These include ‘Lightbox’ at Tate Britain, London, in 2009; ‘Escapement’ at Frith Street Gallery, London, in 2009; ‘Decomposition’ at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong, in 2009; ‘There has been a Change of Plan’ at Nature Morte Gallery, New Delhi, in 2006; ‘The Impostor in the Waiting Room’ at Bose Pacia, New York, in 2004; and ‘Co-Ordinates’ at Roomade Office for Contemporary Art, Brussels, in 2003. Their work has also been a part of 'Indian Highway' at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, in 2009; 'Chalo India' at the Mori Museum, Tokyo, in 2008; ‘The Rest of Now’ at Manifesta 7, Italy, in 2008; 'Not Only Possible but Also Necessary' at the Istanbul Biennial in 2007; ‘Janken: The Power of Chance' at the Ogaki Biennale of New Media Art in 2006; 'Icon: India Contemporary' at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005; ‘Do you Believe in Reality?’ at the Taipei Beinnial in 2004; and 'Documenta 11', Kassel, in 2002.


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