Text, lightbulbs, fixtures, acrylic, wire, synchroniser

Exhibition History: ‘The Capital of Accumulation’, Project 88, Mumbai (2010); ‘Reading Light’, Festival d’Automne, Espace Oscar Niemeyer, Paris (2011); Art Unlimited Basel (2012); ‘Critical Mass’, Tel Aviv Museum (2012); ‘Words Don’t Come Easily’, Zentrum für Internationale Lichtkunst, Unna (2014).

Revoltage fills the space it occupies with warmth, light, and the charge of an idea that embraces both celebration and rage. It suggests the energy, or “voltage,” of what it means to revolt, to commit oneself to humanity. The letters join to suggest an incandescent hybrid between electricity and uprising – alternately illuminating the words “Revolt” and “Voltage” through a fluctuating electrical current in order to coin a new thought, “Revoltage”. Revoltage registers first as an after-image (the kind we see when we shut our eyes after looking at a strong source of light), and then as a subliminal suggestion within our consciousness to brighten our days with the brilliance of a form of truant, rebel power that refuses to either name itself or be named into domesticity. 

A cascade of black and red wiring (anarchy’s traditional colours) makes its way down from the multitude of light bulbs that make up the word, and flows along its length on the ground. The bunched wires merge and divide like a map of the tributaries of a mighty, turbulent river before disappearing into the shadowy darkness behind the work. By representing the transport of the electrical energy that fuels the work, the wires evoke the way in which ordinary people all over the world have flooded their cities in recent times (in Cairo, New York, Athens, Madrid, Moscow, Tel Aviv, and elsewhere), like rivers in spate, electrifying global consciousness with the actualisation of a new politics, carrying with them the charge of a new mode of being human.

With Revoltage, Raqs have begun writing a new glossary for these times.

Raqs Media Collective | ‘Reading Light’, Festival d’Automne, Espace Oscar Niemeyer, Paris (2011)