Raqs Media Collective

Raqs Media Collective, With Respect to Residue (Table Maps for Liverpool), 2004

Raqs Media Collective, With Respect to Residue (Table Maps for Liverpool), 2004

Active since 1991, Raqs Media Collective (Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) is a group of media practitioners. In 2001, Raqs co-founded Sarai (, an interdisciplinary programme concerned with urban space, the media and the public domain. Raqs's work has been shown at such major international art venues as Documenta 11 (Kassel), Itau Cultural (Sao Paulo), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Generali Foundation (Vienna), the Roomade Office for Contemporary Art (Brussels), the Venice Biennale 2003 and the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Brussels).

In its installations, media works, essays, internet projects and print objects, Raqs Media Collective addresses issues of legality and illegality, location and movement, property and dispossession, and processes of identification and effacement. These works are based on close readings of different histories arrived at through an examination of networked forms of production, creative practices and information flows.

For International 04, With Respect to Residue (Table Maps for Liverpool) was a work designed to provoke reflection about all the things, the states of being and the histories that end up being abandoned. The table maps were paper mats meant to be placed in restaurants in Liverpool, destined to be thrown away after a meal, embellished with the traces of peanut shells, fish bones, used teabags,and tobacco ash.

Spaces, activities and ways of life that are seen as obsolete or redundant are a particularly marked feature of many post-industrial spaces, particularly in cities that have been left on the wayside by the detours of global capitalism. Large parts of Liverpool, like depressed districts in many other former industrial or port cities facing long periods of decline (such as Calcutta, Danzig, Lille, Dresden, Kamaishi or Detroit), continue to exist in our times as reminders of the detritus of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Though often invisible, the production of such ‘residue’ is only intensified by the accelerated, networked market of the contemporary era.

Like the heaps of scrap metal piling up in the Liverpool dockyards, or the ruins of layer upon layer of abandoned habitation buried under the grass in Everton Park, the ‘residue’ lurks silently, in unexpected corners, as an embarrassment to history. It can yield neither a narrative of ‘heroic resistance’ by labour, nor a paean to triumphant capital. It is this thing, ubiquitous and yet amiss, impossible to memorialise and difficult to forget, that this work wishes to pay respect to.

Raqs Media Collective at Liverpool Biennial 2004

With Respect to Residue (Table Maps for Liverpool), 2004
Paper placemats
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2004
Exhibited in Public realm

Supported by

Visiting Arts