revoltage light bulb installation by raqs media collective
original content
jun 16, 2012
revoltage light bulb installation by raqs media collective

‘revoltage’ sculpture by raqs media collective, on exhibition at art unlimited at art basel 2012
acrylic, lightbulbs, electric wires, PVC

image © designboom

title | revoltage, 2011
media | acrylic, light bulbs, wires, pvc
artists | raqs media collective, founded in 1992
jeebesh bagchi, *1965, new delhi, india

             monica narula, *1969, new delhi, india

             shuddhabrata sengupta, *1968, new delhi, india
gallery | frith street gallery

on exhibition as part of ‘art unlimited’ at art basel 2012, the ‘revoltage’ electrical sculpture by multidisciplinary indian artists
raqs media collective references the popular uprisings of the past year in a piece meant to reflect both celebration and outrage.
the sculpture itself is controlled by a fluctuating electrical current. as the electricity switches between two paths,
the words ‘revolt’ and ‘voltage’ are lit alternately in turn.

the design of the piece specifically resembles a circus or festival marquee sized at a human scale. its wiring is left exposed,
tangled on the floor of the sculpture in the colours red and black, suggestive of anarchy. the artists elaborate:

‘the bunched wires merge and divide like a map of the tributaries of a mighty, active, turbulent river. by representing the transport
the electrical energy that fuels the work, the wires evoke the way in which ordinary people all over the world have flooded
cities and municipal spaces, electrifying global consciousness with the actualization of a new politics, carrying with them
the charge of a new mode of being human and citizen.’

‘voltage’ illuminated
image © designboom


closer view
image © designboom

the imposing letters are set at human-height
image © designboom

the colours of anarchy, red and black wires pool together on the floor of the installation
image © designboom

revoltage is rooted in raqs media collective’s earlier works
exploring the legacy of radical thought, and in particular their

into the life of rosa luxemburg, who was oddly commemorated in poland through naming a light bulb factory in her honor. the use

of light bulbs continues this peculiar homage. the work is also an
example of raqs media collective’s evolving practice of word play.

words make their way into their consciousness, and work, from
everywhere. from graffiti, from street names and signs, posters,

from fragments of text blown along with pieces of paper in the wind, the
refrains of songs, snatches of conversation, the neon signage

of dreams. raqs read cities like one would read a novel, or a political
tract, page-by-page, line-by-line. with revoltage, they have begun

writing a new glossary for these times.

‘revoltage’ flickering in action
video © designboom

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art basel 2012 (15 articles)

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