Art in the Age of Collective Intelligence | 2015

40 photo prints on Moab metallic silver paper, giclee, 24 inches x 24 inches each

Adam Aronson Gallery, Laumier Sculpture Park, St. Louis | Missouri

Art in the Age of Collective Intelligence consists of 40 image prints that gloss Raqs’ reading and cultivation of libraries. An iteration of the responses to the question that Raqs had posed — “If the world was a fair place, then…?”- was a rendered as bookmarks, which in their place became the basis for the 40 entries that constitute this work. Layered texts within the images and books examine theideas of ‘fairness’ and ‘unfairness’, using cut out fragments of passages as shadowed insertions, leaving both physical and contextual marks. These were produced as photographic prints, which were then inserted into the open pages of books in the personal libraries of Raqs. In this way the work became a bearer of two levels of reading a symptom in the world. A ‘reading’ of what people think of as fairness of justice, and then using that ‘reading’ to annotate further levels of reading – within the expanding ambit of curiosity that constitutes Raqs’s continuing process of reading and thinking. What this focuses on is the way in which ‘reading’ practices in Raqs are also a way of eavesdropping and whispering, of note taking and re-reading, or parsing a collective intelligence which touches us all, and which we all contribute to.

If the World is a Fair Place Then.. | 2015

Laser cut steel bands, words | Exhibited at Laumier Sculpture Park, St. Louis | Missouri

If the World is a Fair Place Then parses a collection of phrases solicited from people in St.Louis, Missouri in the United States of America, in response to a query posed by Raqs that said, “If the world were a fair place, then…”. This work was undertaken in the wake of racial violence in Ferguson (a suburb of St. Louis). The question proposed and posed by Raqs addresses both the recent history of racial violence as well as the historical legacy of the St. Louis World’s Fair (by way of a play on the word ‘fair’- standing in both for a carnival, as well as a sense of justice, or fairness). The responses to the question, which ranged from the outraged to the thoughtful to the whimsical to the affectionate, were collated, and a selection was chosen for rendition. 40 stainless steel bands etched with various thoughts, feelings and ideas from the responses encircle tree trunks along Laumeier’s Art Hike Trail.