Starting A Conversation

Raqs Media Collective wears different hats---of artists, curators and sometimes agents provocateurs.

Updated: Oct 11, 2018 16:32:21 IST
2018-10-11T16:32:21+05:30
Starting A Conversation 'Five Principal No-s' by Raqs Media Collective and Iswanto Hartono, 2012. Image courtesy: Iswanto Hartono.

Founded by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta in 1992, Raqs Media Collective wears different hats---of artists, curators and sometimes agents provocateurs. The word raqs (pronounced rux) denotes the transcendental state entered by whirling dervishes-one that translates into the 'practice of kinetic contemplation of the world' for the trio. Anchored in Delhi, but no strangers to the international art world, their art focuses on starting a conversation.

'Five Principal No-s' is a collaborative artwork with Iswanto Hartono, a Jakarta-based artist, which was created for the 9th Shanghai Biennale, 2012. It is based on the idea of Pancasila (panca or five + sila or principles) dating back to the 1940s, which laid down the philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state and served as frameworks for relations between sovereign powers. Often expressed through negations (mutual non-interference, non-aggression, non-alignment and so on), the artists devised a new set of principles to show the disconnect between citizens' wants and state action. The five principal no-s, or the principles they'd like to see everyone live by, are as follows. The only rule is the letter 'O' in the word NO must be expressed as a hole, a void.

1. MAKE NO PROMISES

2. TAKE NO PRISONERS

3. DO NO HARM

4. KILL NO MORE

5. GO NO FURTHER 

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