Raqs Media Collective: Not Yet At Ease
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW 2018
Fri 28 Sept 2018 – Sun 20 Jan 2019
Opening celebration Thurs 27 Sept 6–9pm
Not Yet At Ease explores the history of psychological disorders resulting from conflict and the stigmas attached to them. Using poetry and performance, this immersive artwork is inspired by letters written by soldiers during wartime. The internationally renowned, Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective have based this new work on their theory that the symptoms of ‘shell shock’ were first observed by military censors, who noticed a tendency among some Indian soldiers to break out spontaneously into ‘poetry’ in the letters they wrote from battlefields, barracks and hospitals. Not Yet At Ease gives voice to these words.
This major commission reworks letters, photographs and documents dating back to the First World War. Innovative video and sound installations tell the story of the condition known at the time as ‘shell shock’ and considers how attitudes have changed towards those who carry the psychological burdens of war. In doing so, Not Yet At Ease invites visitors to explore interlinked histories of war, poetry and mental health.
Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi & Shuddhabrata Sengupta) makes contemporary art, edits books, curates exhibitions, and stages situations. It has collaborated with architects, computer programmers, writers, curators, and theatre directors, and has made films. It co-founded Sarai – the inter-disciplinary and incubatory space at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi – in 2001, where it initiated processes that have left deep impact on contemporary culture in India.
Theory Opera | Talks, screening and events
Sept 2018 – Jan 2019
As part of Not Yet At Ease, Theory Opera is fascinating series of public events that brings together different stories, ideas and experiences in response to the exhibition. Each event will build on Raqs Media Collective’s extensive research to share energetic discussions that explore the relationship between mental health and conflict both in the past and today.
Not Yet At Ease is co-commissioned by Firstsite and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The exhibition forms part of Firstsite’s programme theme of Conflict and Culture.