Exhibition URBANITIES. Exhibition

EemansWalk Foto: Sultan Ali

December 1-4, 2016

Alhamra Arts Center

explorations of the urban

Urban space is a particular space. It is inherently urban that its complexities and collateralities allow for a growth which can be both freeing and limiting. The right to the city in Lefebvre's understanding translates into manifold interpretations and addresses the very core of existance that is change and transformation. It involves the transitivity of being changed by  actively changing space, by being mindfully present in an urban environment.

The exhibition URBANITIES is dedicated to the city in flux as site of artistic research and intervention. It presents works created during artist residencies in both Karachi and Lahore that deal with social awareness and global desires, developing landscapes and mindful walking acts, and documents an investigation of informal urban design practices and collective knowledge.

Miro Craemer // Honi Ryan // Shahana Rajani & Zahra Malkani // zoohaus | Inteligencias Colectivas
Curated by Sara-Duana Meyer
Miro Craemer
The German fashion and social designer addresses questions of collaboration, consumerism, and social awareness in their global and local contexts. For the work created during his artist residency in Karachi, Craemer explored the tragic Baldia Factory Fire of 2012 and transformed his experiences with the victims' families and their narratives into art and design. His 'social sculpture' has been brought to life as a community effort with local art schools and textile workers, based on communication, participation, and collaboration, as well as on the strong belief that creative action has the potential to change society.
After showing his work in Pakistan, Craemer plans to re-display the work in Germany to emphasize the inherent connection between the two countries in this project.
Honi Ryan
Honi Ryan’s artist residency in Lahore comprised of several research facets into Walking in Lahore. Influenced by the historical movements of the Situationists International, the narratives of performance and participation and relational aesthetics, Ryan’s socially engaged art practice puts environment at the centre of her work. Ryan has been interested in how urban space effects human relations, and how one can apply mindful techniques to everyday situations to create shifts in perception.
In Lahore, Ryan’s research methodology has included one on one walks to different areas of the city investigating Subjective Geographies, a 1000+ ft long Footpath Intervention as action research into the feasibility of demarcated pedestrian access developed with Attiq Ahmed of OCCO, and a Walking Performance along Kasuri Rd activating deep presence in public space.

Shahana Rajani & Zahra Malkani
We are interested in exploring the ruination of landscape and degraded ecologies in relation to the mega-development project of Bahria Town in Karachi. Located at the peripheries of the city in Gadap Town, this construction site spanning 35,000 acres is rapidly and radically transforming the local landscape to develop land for a 'world class' city, violently and systematically displacing indigenous communities. We examine and unpack the relationship of the marginalized township of Gadap to the city of Karachi, problematizing the historical and contemporary practices of urbanization.

Using artistic and interdisciplinary research methods we make visible the slow violence of erasures and transformations enacted by imperial and neoliberal processes of real estate development, resource extraction and climate change, unsettling dominant narratives that represent Gadap as barren, unproductive wasteland.

zoohaus | Inteligencias Colectivas
Every region of the world has its own repertoire of construction techniques. The coexistence of different degrees of industrialization allows for the mixing of semi-industrial products with old and enduring techniques; however, they are only considered valid in informal environments. While many of these constructions lack proper design planning, they generate a wide range of improvisation procedures through popular and generational wisdom.

Represented by the architects Juan Chacón Gragera and David Cardenas Lorenzo, the collective investigated informal urban design practices, traditional technologies and networks of working communities in public spaces. Using these techniques, the collective later constructed objects in collaboration with architects and heritage consultants Marvi Mazhar & Associates to come to use by the community and local stakeholders in Pakistan Chowk, a landmark heritage of Karachi.