The role of research in the making of art has been widely discussed and contested, and one that draws on varied forms, histories, and disciplines. Intellectual Birdhouse: Artistic Practice as Research (2012) is a collection of essays by practitioners from diverse fields offering interpretations on how artistic research can be carried out. The volume deliberates on the manner in which artists have tested and negotiated with knowledge systems, and the controversial courses that are often taken. It poses arguments that posit research not as part of the artistic process, but art practice itself.
As part of the volume, Raqs Media Collective’s essay “The Language of Birds” considers and traces the group’s journey following fragmented threads and connections that undergirded the research for their film The Capital of Accumulation (2010). In a reading session held in conjunction with AAA in India’s exhibition “…and it is something which grows in all directions,” which showcases documents from the personal archive of Mrinalini Mukherjee, artists Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Jeebesh Bagchi of Raqs Media Collective will revisit their essay with participants, reflect on their engagements with interwoven histories, and share their process of working with suppositions, facts, and hunches. The discussion will also expand on how artistic research can be read and made legible in archives.
This session will be held at the FICA Reading Room in New Delhi. It is open to students currently enrolled in MFA or MA programmes related to visual arts practice or theory in the Delhi-NCR region. Participants are required to read two essays and watch video works in preparation. In order to keep the session intimate and intensive, the programme can only accommodate fifteen participants. Selected participants will be informed via email.
The deadline for registration is 23 November 2022. Please register for the session here. For enquiries, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raqs Media Collective was formed in the early 1990s by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. The word “raqs” in several languages denotes an intensification of awareness and presence attained by whirling and turning in a state of revolution. Raqs Media Collective interprets this word as “kinetic contemplation” and a restless and energetic entanglement with the world, and with time. Raqs enlists objects such as an early-modern tiger-automata from Southern India, a biscuit from the Paris Commune, or a cup salvaged from an ancient Mediterranean shipwreck, and turns them into devices to sniff and taste time. These devices are deployed in order to undertake historical subterfuge and fabulist adventures. Raqs works across several mediums such as installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, lexica, and curation. Their work situates the group at the intersection of contemporary art, philosophical speculation, and historical enquiry.
The members of Raqs Media Collective live and work in Delhi, India. In 2001, they co-founded the Sarai program at CSDS New Delhi and ran it for a decade, where they also edited the Sarai Reader series. They have shown extensively globally, at Documenta 11; at the Venice, Istanbul, Sydney and Sao Paulo Biennales; as well as at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi; MUAC, Mexico City; the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester; K-21, Dusseldorf; and the Mathaf: Museum of Arab Modern Art, Doha.
Raqs has also curated numerous exhibitions, including the Shanghai Biennale 2016, Why Not Ask Again?. They were the Artistic Directors for the recently-concluded Yokohama Triennale 2020, Afterglow, where they developed sources around toxicity, care, and the luminosity of friendship, with artists and publics. Hungry for Time at the Paintings Gallery of the Fine Art Academy, Vienna, is the most recent exhibition they have curated.
Venue Support: Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA)
This programme was made possible by the generous support of the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation.