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The Michigan Daily: Itinerant bodies: Raqs Collective’s audience gets lost in the archive

Posted On: Monday, December 7th, 2020 | by project88pressadmin

By Sierra Elise Hansen

Courtesy of Sierra

The performance art troupe The Raqs Collective went live on YouTube last week to present a talk alongside a presentation of “31 Days,” a video piece amplifying pandemic life. The group is composed of the performance artists Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta and is based in New Delhi, India.

To behold objects in the Raqs Collective’s work isn’t to observe the curated, forced silence of the museum but to engage with time and inquiry through those objects, presented as framing devices for generating inquiry. With that said, the framing does not hold: Entropy overwhelms its sense of coherence. As a direct result, the audience is forced to stand in as an essential part of the Collective’s work — to the point of their continuous, forced engagement being vitally necessary for finding a coherent direction for the narrative.

The group immediately reinforced the central positioning of the viewer by opening their live performance with an instruction to “let us begin from where (the audience is), both present and absent.” They further declared their artistic practice to be an “infrastructural art” and emphasized the importance of their ‘curatorial practice’ as something ‘built into’ the everyday.

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