Raqs Media Collective: Not Yet At Ease. Firstsite, Colchester (co-commissioned by Firstsite and 14-18 NOW)
Posted 27 September 2018
28 September 2018 - 20 January 2019
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. 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.
Not Yet At Ease was 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.
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