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Penny W Stamps School of Art & Design pres.

Raqs Media Collective: Kinetic Contemplations

Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Raqs Media Collective, formed in 1992 by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, argues for a mode of “kinetic contemplation” that rides a restless entanglement with the world. This translates into working with moving images to unsettle ways of ordering space and time through timelines, life-lines, latitudes, and longitudes. Raqs practices across several media, including installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, and lexica. In the video 31 Days (2020), Raqs takes the predicament of quarantine and seclusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to offer a meditation on a restless world in a quiet time. Raqs takes traces of materials in order to breach the boundaries and limits of historical time by intensifying the experience of a sensory encounter with the immeasurability of life forms. In the video The Blood of Stars (2018), blood, meteorites older than the earth, and iron mines in the arctic circle combine to offer a way of thinking concretely and materially about the intimacy of life, death, mining, war, and the pulse of the cosmos.

From 2000–2013, Raqs spent time at Sarai, which they co-founded at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in North Delhi, and where they were members of the Editorial Collegiate of the Sarai Reader Series. Raqs’ work has been shown in museums and exhibitions across the world, including Documenta 11, Venice, Istanbul, Sydney, Shanghai, and Sao Paulo Biennales, and in solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Tate Modern, London; Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), México City; Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf; and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar, among others. Curatorial projects by Raqs include The Rest of Now, Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain, 2011; Sarai Reader 09, Devi Art Foundation, Gurugram, India, 2012; Insert2014, IGNCA, Delhi, 2014; Why Not Ask Again, Shanghai Biennale, 2016; Five Million Incidents, Goethe-Institut, Delhi & Kolkata, 2019–2021; and Afterglow, Yokohama Triennale, 2020.

This Penny Stamps Speaker Series event includes a presentation by Raqs Media Collective followed by a Q&A with Srimoyee Mitra, director of the Stamps Gallery at Stamps School of Art and Design.

Stamps Gallery Online ExhibitionRaqs Media Collective is also featured in The Pandemic Circle by Raqs Media Collective, an online Stamps Gallery exhibition and screening of new videos. Commissioned by Stamps Gallery and presented in partnership with EXPO CHICAGO, twentyfourbyseven (6 mins, video, calligraphy, text, animation), 2020 and Why do they call the answer to a question, a solution? (12 minutes, video, spoken word), 2020 complete the Pandemic Circle that they embarked upon with their recent video 31 Days. Together, this suite of poignant and poetic videos grapple with the pervasive and dispersed impact on daily routines and relationships with one another, and beyond, in the age of the Coronavirus.

The exhibition can be viewed online from Dec. 1, 2020 - Jan 31, 2021.  Learn More →

Co-produced with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Visiting Artists Program and the UM Stamps Gallery.

How to Watch

All speaker series events will be webcast on Fridays at 8 pm EST at and at starting Friday, September 18. You can also watch the talks and join the conversation on the Penny Stamps Series Facebook page:

Notice of uncensored content

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on “Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression,” the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.

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