Raqs Media Collective

Krannert Art Museum
February 2016

Blaffer Art Museum
February - March 2014

Raqs Media Collective formed in 1992 and is comprised of three members—Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta—who make films and artworks, stage performances and lectures, curate exhibitions, and write critical essays. Their name is an acronym for “rarely asked questions” and a word in Persian, Arabic, and Urdu describing the meditative state whirling dervishes enter into when they whirl. Both meanings of “raqs” (pronounced “rux”) describe the group’s tireless curiosity. Raqs Media Collective’s research focuses on histories and philosophies of time and broad questions facing contemporary culture: circulations of capital and the shape of our contemporary moment in view of modernity and history. Their productions are discursive and take many physical forms, ranging from sculpture to film and photography, performances, and workshops.

February 24, 5:30pm 
Raqs Media Collective public artist talk, “Untimely Calendar,”  KAM auditorium

February 25, 5:00-9:00pm
Time Symposium is a conversation about time among eleven University of Illinois colleagues and one member of the artist collective. The performance is designed as a feast for thought: each participant reads from notecards with phrases (amuse-bouche) and longer texts (main course) on histories and philosophies of time while drinking wine and sharing stories about time. The notecards contain excerpts from a variety of texts, including Aristotle (“time is the number of change in respect of the before and after”), Thomas Hardy, English physicist Michael Faraday, Henry David Thoreau, Karl Marx, Stephen Hawking, and descriptions of the cesium atomic clock in Boulder, CO. Time Symposium is modeled after the Greek meaning of “symposium” in which people gather over wine for debate and discussion. As drink and conversation flow, the time and rhythm of the performance (d)evolve. This is the US museum premiere of this work, following previous iterations in London (Hayward Gallery, 2012), New York (Performa, 2013), Mexico City (University Museum of Contemporary Art, 2015), and Brisbane (Institute of Modern Art, 2015). Participants at Illinois included Anita Chan, Brian Fields, Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Kevin Hamilton, David Hays, Jamie Jones, Lilya Kaganovsky, Prita Meier, Jennifer Monson, Chantal Nadeau, and Deke Weaver.

Organized by Amy L. Powell