Project 88 (Mumbai)
“everything is burning”
Raqs Media Collective returns to Project 88, Mumbai with “Provisions”, an exhibition that brings together the premiere in India of an ambitious recent video travelogue, ‘Provisions for Everybody’ (2018), as well as a new body of work — photo/text/objects that embody an agile and playful skepticism towards the civilizational burden of the unequal distributions of toxicity.
“How not to write slow poisoning love letters to life?”, Raqs ask, as they straddle a planet rotating without permission, create a road map for the centuries from stone, coal, oil and windmills, while following an itinerary between epochs and continents, on and off the trail of George Orwell.
Raqs burrow under the earth, find a memorial to doubt next to sugarcane fields, survey an open cast coal mine, study line-dancing in a pit village, and find everything ablaze from the neolithic age to now. This provokes reflection on the relationship between time and energy, between burning and becoming fuel.
The task Raqs give themselves is one of ambition and simplicity: how to re-imagine the relation between the toxic and the true, between potential and plenitude.
Toxicity in Equal Measure
Layered sheets with perforations on felt, leather, rubber, copper, steel,
cardboard, fabric and acrylic, with gold impressions.
22 frames, 1 ft. X 1 ft. each
A singular array of surfaces in materials that range from leather to metal celebrate the essential instability of all substances. Nothing stays pure. Everything is eaten away from the inside by toxicity in equal measure. Porosity is ubiquity. The action of time, and perforations produced by different kinds of toxicity – proliferate porosities. Bookworms tread pathways in bound books, the unpredictable curvature of space-time eats wormholes into the universe. The claim to solidity in all structures crumbles in equal measure. Even time leaks when space is ridden with holes.
To Ask, When Empty |2018
5 Lenticular Panels, 1ft. X 2ft each
Project 88 | Mumbai
A suite of six uniquely colourful lenticular prints offer a dance of terse imperatives at the intersection of will and necessity: “to ask when empty, to pour when full.”
Sleep, Clock |2018
Two synchronised lenticular fields, Clock Faces, Text ( 2 X 2 ft. each)
Project 88 | Mumbai
Sleep. Waking. Life. Death. The most intimate, singular as well as universal of experiences is rendered through a pair ofclock-faces that mark the rhythm of every working day, and every life. The alteration between waking, working, sleeping on the one hand, and the beginning and end of life on the other are the two sets of movements that stand behind the conception of this piece.
Communard Biscuits (2017)
3 D Printing, Silicone mould, flour, water, salt
500 biscuits, 9 x 1 x 1 cm (each)
Exhibited at Whitworth, Manchester
Made in collaboration with the People’s History Museum, Kathryn Downey, University of Manchester and the Modern Caterer.
A hard tack biscuit from the Paris Commune of 1871 was 3D scanned, 3D printed, a mould made and facsimile biscuits baked. History in facsimile, waiting for a bite.
Provisions for Everybody
Single screen, Video, 50 minutes, Furniture
“Provisions for Everybody” inscribes an eccentric itinerary on and off the trail of George Orwell that accompanies a reading of ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’. Traveling between Northern England, Eastern India, Myanmar (Burma) and
Catalonia, Raqs pause at Wigan Pier (in England) where Orwell queried the future, at Motihari (in Bihar, India) where he was born in the shadow of an opium godown, on the road from Mandalay where he began to understand the operations of force, in the neighborhoods of Newcastle and Durham where he investigated coal mining and miners, and in the streets of Barcelona, where he dodged bullets.
En-route, Raqs think about how time gets its names from materials, how we burn and become fuel, and about what can be learnt from pigs, donkeys and a taxidermied elephant. They burrow under the earth, find a memorial to the Buddha’s celebration of doubt next to sugarcane fields, survey an open cast coal mine, consider planetary motion, observe the ghosts of opium and indigo, study line dancing, and find everything ablaze from neolithic times till the present.
Workers and Robots Enter A Factory Canteen
Manga style text-image assemblage. Ten screen printed panels on newsprint. Unlimited Edition
Graphics by Freddy Corasco
An imagined conversation between real, embodied and artificial forms of intelligence, set in a moment of respite on a working day.
First published in Wonderflux – a graphic novel anthology produced by e-Flux