Shuddhabrata Sengupta Triangulations: How Raqs Media Collective Navigates Space and Time

Wednesday, October 26, 4:30 p.m.6:00 p.m.

Join us for a lecture presentation with Shuddhabrata Sengupta, an artist, curator and writer with the Raqs Media Collective. Presented by SAIC Galleries in collaboration with SAIC's Arts Administration and Policy, Performance, and Art History, Theory, and Criticism Departments with generous support from the Goethe-Institut Chicago.

Shuddhabrata Sengupta is an artist, curator and writer with the Raqs Media Collective.Raqs Media Collective was formed in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula 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 take this sense to mean ‘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, 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 are deployed in order to undertake historical subterfuge and fabulist adventures. Raqs practices across several media; making installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, lexica, and curation. Their work finds them at the intersection of contemporary art, philosophical speculation and historical enquiry. 

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, among others. Works by Raqs are part of several contemporary art collections and museums. Their essays have been widely published. They have curated numerous exhibitions, including the Shanghai Biennale 2016, “Why Not Ask Again?”.They were the Artistic Directors for the Yokohama Triennale 2020, ‘Afterglow’, where they developed sources around toxicity, care, and the luminosity of friendship, with artists, and publics. With Leonhard Emmerling, they conceived and developed 'Five Million Incidents : a programme for bringing the energies of contemporary art into the life of a cultural institution at the Goethe Institut in Delhi and Kolkata (2019-2020). ‘Hungry for Time’, 2021 & 2022, their recently curated exhibition at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, tackled the issue of how the question of decolonization in European institutions with a collecting history can be addressed with strategies of epistemic disobedience. 

The members of Raqs Media Collective live and work in Delhi, India.

Work pictured: U.I.D : The Untold Intimacy of Digits (2011). Courtesy of Raqs Media Collective.