Raqs Media Collective
Meelfabriek/ Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden
27 Jun 2015 – 04 Oct 2015
The artists of the Raqs Media Collective were originally documentary filmmakers and co-founded Sarai, the online network of media theoreticians. They use installations, video, performances and text to explore global urban culture and to illustrate the conflicts they encounter. Central to their work is the question of how society as a whole, as well as each independent individual, inhabits urban spaces.
The collection’s contribution to Global Imaginations is a work entitled Fever. Fever., which takes an image from the Special Collections library at Leiden University as its starting point. The image shows a relief from a 12th-century Indian temple depicting a story from the Mahabharata, a famous ancient Indian epic. It is a tale of tyranny and greed and the tragic consequences thereof for man and the earth, an ancient parable that could easily be transposed to the modern world.
The work consists of a video animation, matchboxes and hand-painted photographic prints in a room painted with liquid rubber. It examines the use of fossil fuels as dictated by economic and political interests in relation to the progress and perception of time. Fossil fuels lay stored in the earth long before humans arrived: while it only takes a few minutes of driving to consume a litre of petrol, the time required to produce the oil from which the petrol is made is easily a couple of million times as long. We are eating up time.
Raqs Media Collection was founded in 1992 by Jeebesh Bachi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta and is based in New Delhi, India.