Provisions for Everybody
Installation: 3 Videos, large drawing print, 3 dhurrie banners, drawings on vinyl, found furniture
AV Festival, Newcastle (2018), ‘Still More World’ Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019)
“Coal Mine. Windmill. Sugarcane Field. Words. Pictures. Memes. It’s all about energy; everything is burning.”
“How not to write slow poisoning love letters to life?”, Raqs asks, as they collect provisions for everybody, straddle a planet rotating without permission, create an untimely calendar for the centuries from stone, coal, oil and windmills, and call up spectres of ordinariness to help forsake the comfort of readymade answers.
With Provisions for Everybody, Raqs presents a new set of works especially produced for the 2018 edition of the AV Festival. What is on offer is a weave of thoughts found on the the road; as well as images, calculations, texts, textures and textiles which accompany and aid the the task of re-imagining the relation between potential and plenitude.
The video that lends its name to the exhibition, ‘Provisions for Everybody’, follows an itinerary on and off the trail of George Orwell. Traveling between Northern England, Eastern India, Myanmar, and Catalonia, Raqs find that one place shadows another, but one time never fits all. Raqs burrow under the earth, find a memorial to doubt ext to sugarcane fields, survey an open cast coal mine, study line dancing in a pit village, and fid everything ablaze from neolithic age to now. This provokes reflection on the relationship between time and energy, between burning and becoming fuel, via parables and lessons from pigs, donkeys and a taxidermied elephant.
Raqs’ journey takes them to Orwell’s birthplace in Motihari, Bihar in Eastern India, where they consider his assertion – “to abolish class – (and caste)- distinctions means abolishing a part of yourself” in tandem with the Buddha’s celebration of doubt, which happened more than two millennia ago, in the same neighborhood. Meanwhile, daily revolutions are observed in silence against wide-open horizons in ‘A Planet Turns on its Axis Without Permission’, an accompanying video that offers a landscape as an allegorical proposition. Drawings of a series of ordinary objects that resonate with things noted and remarked upon in the reading of “The Road to Wigan Pier’ animate a third annotative video, titled, simply ’Things to Look at and Reconsider’. The window-drawing with its enmeshment of the human, animal and machinic is our new world-field. And so, woven textile and luminous text that that take the form of three suspended dhurries recalling the heraldry of historical labour movement banners are titled, ‘Let the Future Praise Us’.
‘Still More World‘ Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019)
Provisions for Everybody
Single screen, Video, 50 minutes, Furniture
A Planet Turns on its Axis Without Permission
Single screen, Video, 18:04 minutes
Things to Look at and Reconsider
Single screen, Video, 3:34 minutes