“ Yahan peshab karna mana hai”
” By : Bisma Raffat and Narmeen Farooqui
Location/ site: Dolmen mall Fatburger-Dolmen-Mall-Clifton-Karachi-1 Artwork : Graffiti IMG-20141117-WA0009 Audience: the bystanders , general public We were inspired by the Graffiti on walls in the public domain. It is part a prominent feature of the mainstream visual culture of the city. In some areas private messages are communicated using this illustrious medium. We decided to use this tag line “ YAHAN PISHAAB KERNA MANA HAI”. The purpose of this was to investigate the impact of such graffiti’s, when taken out of its context, and presented in a high class public space. To highlight the class difference, in a bold yet subtle way. The importance of using this particular tag line is that, it is usually associated with, the lower class and its lack of socially perceived etiquettes. The message of our project is extremely personal and rarely seen in places where affluent people live. As the society is growing rapidly the class disparity is rising and people belonging from a certain class are living in a specific part of the city, therefore every area in our city now defines a certain social class living in it. Mostly in the old city areas such graffiti is often seen, for instance Saddar, Gulshan, liyaari etc. Majority of the people living in these less developed areas have freedom to jot down anything they desire as compared to people living in recently developed places like DHA and Clifton. Due to the lack of a degree of surveillance. In order to get a clear picture of what we had thought of and achieve our targets we placed this text on different locations such as Dolmen mall Clifton which caters to the elite, Rahat Park which is in a residential area in Defence and the courtyard of Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture. Different reactions were observed in different places. In Dolmen Mall after placing the text the guard blatantly stated that the mall caters to the elite who would find this offensive thus it should be removed immediately, this statement made it explicitly clear that the perceived class differences are very much in play. This concludes that elite has the power/agency to see what they like to see where as the poor have little or no say. We want to take this project a step ahead and put up this text in different areas of Indus valley like washrooms, on the walls of backyard and see how people respond to it. IMG-20141111-WA0000
href=”https://artandsocietyivs.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/img-20141111-wa00003.jpg”> “ Yahan peshab karna
(final essay draft )
“Conception of idea ”
Research assignment: art and society The concept: There is a thin line between public space and the private, this distinction is perhaps the most crucial in a world that is increasingly globalised and the idea of privacy is becoming obscure. We use social media as a platform to express ourselves thereby rendering a public domain a private one. The blurry lines that distinguish the two are now even more entangled within one and other. Graffiti is an underappreciated art form in Karachi, however its presence in the public domain is tremendous .Most of the city’s public spaces are full of political and advert related graffiti done by self proclaimed artists. The idea is to create an art intervention project, aimed at highlighting the class difference within the city. Different areas in Karachi are associated with specific stereotypical notions of the lifestyles of the residents in that area. Also, to question the nature of the public space in question, the purpose of its existence and its influence on the social dynamics of the place. It is a theme I am personally interested in, as I have always considered the class difference as a self inflicted phenomena , and a product of the imported western capitalism ,that occurred due to a post colonial background and global inference. We plan to graffiti the walls of the place with signage that says “yahan pehab karna mna hai”. I chose this medium because graffiti is an underappreciated form of art in Pakistan however; it is an effective medium for signage, political claims, and adverts around the city. It influences the site of the Public space as it makes onlookers, mostly people who are there to watch movies or shop to stop and ponder over the signage. The absurdity of it being in a place that is considered a high end mall will make people think about public space and its use as a means of distinguishing between and excluding the poor who have little or no agency and are denied access to this space due to social constructs.The interactive nature of the signage makes this a piece of relational aesthetics’ . The impact it will have on the viewer’s and their response to it, is my key interest, it will be an interactive piece where people will collectively be viewing it. It will be a form of self reflection, like holding a mirror to society and challenging its social constructs and notions about superiority and inferiority. It reduces the singularity or uniqueness of the space and its high end appeal. it will also add a certain subaltern quality that is unexpected in a place like this one. Its blurring the lines that separate high end malls in d.h.a , and ones in other not elitist parts of the city. Its not stereotypical as , the representation is not literal , rather it is through signage which is a formal way of communicating . the formal qualities of the graffiti makes it more effective as it is not a direct provocation rather it is a subtle mirror reflection of our society and its class conscious nature. its. subject is the audience and their reaction , and the object is the graffiti which is the stimulus , that will elicit a response from the general public visitng the space.
“ Yahan peshab karna mana hai”
( final essay )
“Site-specific art is art created to exist in a certain place with the location having been taken into account while creating the artwork. ”
The purpose of creating site specific artwork is to maintain , its existence in a certain place independent of time . However, some site specific artworks have been known to be temporary installations for instance the recent installation of park lets , small pockets of artificially created park like spaces for the general public on occasion of parking day in San Francisco in 2014 .
Another example of a site specific work is the lightning field which is a permanent art work, commissioned and maintained by, Dia art foundation. The field was constructed using 35 poles of stainless steel with pointed tips, 18 feet high., in western New Mexico.The land is not the setting for the work but a part of the work , this singular work unfolds itself to variable experiences it also lends an insight to investigate and examine the nature of the artistic practice associated with “ecology and environment “ a school of thought that was popular in the 60’s and the 70’s .
Art created for a public space , is often confused with political activism or socialism . However, it could simply be a subtle gesture as constructing a wall in a central location to restrict movement and critiquing the ownership of space.
Richard Serra , titled Arc .
In the discourse regarding, site specific projects the term in itself is still very controversial as there is dissent as to whether the work was made for a site or was it to encounter or respond to a site in all its socio, economic complexities.
Source: Boundless. “Site-Specific Art.” Boundless Art History. Boundless, 03 Jul. 2014. Retrieved 08 Dec. 2014 from https://www.boundless.com/art-history/textbooks/boundless-art-history-textbook/global-art-since-1950-37/dematerialization-235/site-specific-art-838-6926/
The site responsive art entails the investigation of the site and its impact on the socio- political and economic situation in the geographical region. In this process the investigation of site and the artist’s engagement becomes part of the work. In such works the end product has a direct relationship with the site and relates to it in terms of form, materials and concept.
My site specific work was made with the intent to create an artwork for a site. In my investigation of the chosen space I encountered , specific socio-political and economic factors that lead to an overall experience of the space.
I observed that the site (dolmen mall, Clifton) , was revered as a high class location for a mall . The social interactions that took place in this location where , for leisure and represented a specific class of the society that was more privileged . This particular observation, provided the concept for my work, I decided to place an element of the verbal and visual culture from a lower class area to the site. The purpose of this was to create an air of discomfort, and provoke thought amongst the bystanders. This work highlights the jaded and bias opinions of the society towards the underprivileged.
The site specific project I executed, was inspired by a local artist, the late Asim Butt. His work mainly consisted of obscure and provocative graffiti around different locations in the city. His work mainly explored ideas regarding social satires. His assertive and controversial graffiti’s around the streets of Karachi inspire me . Asim, held a mirror to society with his sarcasm and his vivid and dreamlike imagery.
Asim’s work was iconic, however the quality about his work that inspired me the most was his ability to “flesh out “or execute an idea or emotion in a direct and assertive manner.
The city of Karachi that is home to an estimated 25 million, most of the immigrants are workers or internally displaced individuals. The lack of infrastructure and institutions for disaster management, has increasingly led to growth, in the income disparity gap.
The impact of this widening of the gap is detrimental to the future of the city. The transformation of Karachi into a world class city would mean pushing out the poorer areas from the geographical boundaries. Through my project I was to offering a contrast, and reflecting on the problematic nature of our acceptance and encouragement of the class distinction, and therefore our exploitation of the lower classes.
“ The most important reason is culture and tradition. The poor do not matter. They have no rights and relief is to be provided to them through charity (for which they should be grateful) and not through equitable development. The other reason is that the micro level problems of poor households and communities do not form part of the grand development visions and theories on the basis of which planning and administration is taught and done. Exceptions apart, professionals and bureaucrats practice what they have learnt in their courses and teachers teach as they have been taught. So the system replicates itself.”
The Anti-Poor Bias in Planning and Policy
In the paragraph above Arif hasan , Pakistanis’ foremost urban planner and developer , talks about the reasons for the anti poor bias that prevails that has shaped our society at large .He offers a theory , that relates this bias to the age old feudal traditions of the land and the stubbornness of the society and its resistance to change.
Nicolas Bourriaud , a French art critic defines relational aesthetics as, “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space”. The creation of art requires an intent followed by relevant actions to preserve the conception of the idea. Relational aesthetics has received considerable appreciation in recent years, due to its ever evolving nature.
Foucault, in his theoretical models emphasizes the importance of linguistics and discourse in social progress. He talks about power, sexuality, and discourse as a means of exerting power. Foucault states that sexuality has been the tool to control and govern society.
This theoretical model supports the idea of the inferior (the marginalized) and the superior (one with agency and access to knowledge) as two opposing forces that are essential to the functioning of society. It also relates to the power dynamics, in a public space how a shift in power even if temporarily can bring about turmoil. As I put up the signage the lack of power that was experienced by the guard compelled him to inquire and take action.
The site project, I executed in some aspects bears a strong resemblance and relates to Santiago sierra’s work titled “the penetrated”. Santiago sierra, has been working with ideas of exploitation and poverty. His recent work called “the penetrated “(los penentratos) he critiques the fractured Spanish society that encourages, economic exploitation and human objectification.
This work is more complex in its appeal; it represents the physical act of bias, and the resulting power dynamics. Dominance and submission, a kind of master slave relationship between the subaltern and the superior in an economic context.
The themes explored in this work are similar to mine, as it brings to light the issues of poverty, exploitation, and power dynamics.
Theories and docouments of contemporary art, a source book of writings and artists
(Edited by Kristine stiles and peter selz )
. “Site-Specific Art.” Boundless Art History. Boundless, 03 Jul. 2014. Retrieved 08 Dec. 2014
Vasl artists collective (ASIM BUTT)
The Anti-Poor Bias in Planning and Policy
18 November, 2012 By Arif Hasan
“ Yahan peshab karna mana hai”