G.A.S. Foundation is thrilled to welcome Raqs Media Collective, a renowned group of artists who also research, curate, and write, as the Yinka Shonibare Foundation delegates for the World Weather Network project at our conceptual weather station on the 54-acre Ecology Green Farm in Ikiṣẹ, Nigeria. The World Weather Network is a visionary response to the climate crisis, uniting 28 arts agencies worldwide in an endeavour to create an archipelago of voices and viewpoints.
As part of their contribution to the network, Raqs are working across two locations on a north–south axis: the G.A.S. Farm House in Ijebu, Nigeria, and the northern Indian city of Rajasthan through the New Delhi-based arts organization Khoj. Throughout the lifespan of the project, they will collaborate with other G.A.S. residents, visiting artists, researchers, scientists, farmers, and scholars to interrogate the intersecting themes that connect the two locales. They will strive to examine the local weather, its ecological implications, and the broader climate concerns. Engaging with a broad spectrum of collaborators, they'll delve into the intricate relationship between weather patterns, ecological narratives, and artistic expression.
Their research will be presented as a unique creative output, a "weather report," capturing the essence of their multidisciplinary practice and its reflections on our planet’s rapidly changing ecology. Through observations, stories, reflections, and images, Raqs will contribute to a collective understanding of weather, transcending borders and localities.
Residency location, G.A.S. Farm House, Ikise-Ijebu, Nigeria. Photo: Andrew Esiebo, 2022
What is the current focus of your creative practice?
We are a hydra-headed practice that brings together creative expressions, curatorial endeavors, educational initiatives, and in-depth research. With each of our heads representing a unique facet of our collective, we embrace the multidimensionality of our work and the expansive possibilities it presents. In artistic formulation, we shape compelling installations, sculptures, videos, performances, and texts, provoking contemplation, sparking dialogue, and challenging conventional boundaries. As curators, we weave narratives that intertwine historical inquiry with philosophical speculation.
It’s Possible Because It’s Possible, Image Still, MUAC Mexico City (2015). Image courtesy Raqs Media Collective
What drew you to apply for this residency and how do you think it will inform your wider practice?
We are honored to have been invited by G.A.S. Our time in Lagos and Ikise will deepen our understanding of the global south and the echoes and overlaps that we share as we live in New Delhi. By venturing beyond our familiar terrain of New Delhi, we seek to unearth the resonances and shared experiences that bind these diverse regions and offer fertile ground for reflection, dialogue, and the cultivation of new artistic expressions. This cross-cultural exploration can uncover common threads that connect our communities and transcend geographical borders.
Oku_noto Triennale. Photo courtesy of Raqs Media Collective
Can you give us an insight into how you hope to use the opportunity?
We plan to make new work, to think about practices and modes that work with soil, soul, and narrative formation, and to open dialogues and conversations that we can continue to have in the long term.
Image courtesy Raqs Media Collective
About Raqs Media Collective
Raqs Media Collective (started in 1992, by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta). The word “Raqs” in several languages denotes an intensification of awareness and presence attained by whirling, turning, and being in a state of revolution. Raqs take this sense to mean ‘kinetic contemplation’ and a restless and energetic entanglement with the world and with time. Raqs practices across several media; making installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, lexica, and curation. Their work finds them at the intersection of contemporary art, philosophical speculation, and historical inquiry.
Raqs has exhibited widely, including at Documenta, Venice, Istanbul, Taipei, Liverpool, Shanghai, Sydney, and Sao Paulo Biennales. Some solo exhibitions (and projects) include “Pamphilos” at Fast Forward Festival 6, Athens (2019); “Still More World” at Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019); “Twilight Language” at Manchester Art Gallery (2017-2018); “Everything Else is Ordinary” at K21 Museum for 21st Century Art, Dusseldorf (2018); “If It’s Possible, It’s Possible”, MUAC, Mexico City (2015) and “Untimely Calendar” at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (2014-2015). Exhibitions curated by Raqs include “In The Open or in Stealth” (MACBA, Barcelona 2018 – 2019); “Why Not Ask Again” (Shanghai Biennale 2016-2017); “INSERT2014” (New Delhi, 2014), and “The Rest of Now” & “Scenarios” (Manifesta 7, Bolzano, 2008). They were the Artistic Directors of the Yokohama Triennale 2020, “Afterglow”, and most recently they exhibited “The Laughter of Tears” at the Kunstverein Braunschweig (2021), and “Hungry for Time”, which was an invitation to epistemic disobedience with the collections of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2021), “Waves are rising” at the Royal Docks (2023), and “1980 in Parallax” at the Cosmic House, London (2023, ongoing).