Farehah Aftab

Site Project

This project is based on the reaction of people when they are introduced to a new element in their surroundings. On an everyday level, people encounter trash but they tend to ignore it because they have become use to it. How will they react when suddenly this waste takes a new form? How will it change the surroundings? By form we mean Sculpture and by surrounding we mean that particular area where the sculpture is placed. The sculpture shows how these specific areas are affecting our society, which we tend to ignore. We noticed how people reacted.

A site can be any area you choose to present your work, in our case, we choose Abdullah Shah Ghazi and Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture as our sites. Our Material was ‘Trash’ including newspapers, wrappers, water bottles and cans as a human form.

In Abdullah Shah Ghazi, People who were not stopping where the trash in its original form was, were now noticing the trash as a new form. Our audience were the people passing by, standing and noticing. Some people were making fun of us, but they were still confused about what we were doing. It changed the surrounding in an interesting way, people were now stopping by, the area was getting attention and suddenly the surrounding of that particular area changed.

While at School, we placed our sculpture near the entrance. In this particular school as it’s an arts school the experience was different than our first site. People were not confused they were touching it, playing with it and were comfortable with its presence. It changed that particular area when people started touching the sculpture. People usually don’t stop at the entrance, but when the sculpture was placed people started noticing and stopped to look at it.

Trash used to make the sculpture:

Picture6

Abdullah Shah Ghazi (Parking Area):

Picture2

Sculpture installed in Abdullah Shah Ghazi: Picture7

Picture4

Picture3

IVSAA:

Picture5

The video we recorded shows the making of the sculptures and how people reacted to it at Abdullah Shah Ghazi and Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture.

 

First Draft

In many areas in Karachi, we see trash mounting, reeking with bad odor and giving a bad appearance to the corner. We have seen garbage on fire and polluting the environment, making many of the passer bys difficult to breathe. The idea of trash taking a different shape might change the way people look at trash. Rather than trash becoming a sight of disgust and filth, it could take the form of social awareness. To implement this idea, we transformed waste papers, water bottles and cans into a human form.

One way of looking at it is to accept the fact that we are defined of what we consume. Our trash bins can say a lot about ourselves. However, the other side of it is to show how comfortable you are with garbage around you when they are handled well. In addition, how playful you can be with the waste we generate in our society, waste that we expose to others telling them about our attitude towards it.

The erosion of public spaces and public life is I think the greatest matter of concern since property in Karachi rarely become public spaces for recreational activities. Karachi with a population of 2 crores people have very few places to go to improve their urban lifestyle. Most of these property have been recently utilized for malls and business centers. There are parks but the ratio is low. Most of the open spaces are dunes of garbage, making it unhygienic for children who play outside and passerby. The capitalist mind set will shuffle resources to the area where they think is more profitable in the long term, reducing the potential of a public space and other recreational sites for the benefit of the citizens.

 

The unfortunate situation in Karachi is even though we are a hub of businesses and a spine of Pakistan’s economy, we are unable to develop the basic needs for people’s need for space and fresh air, since our environment is polluted.

The art work that most relate to ours is that of REBAR. REBAR is an art studio which started PARK(ING) Day which is a movement to create awareness for public spaces. The project began in San Francisco when they found that parking spaces in downtown area can be transformed into temporary public spaces.[1] The mission of this movement is to bring awareness to the need for open urban spaces.[2][3] Our mission is similar as well, however, given a different set of problems that Karachi in general has, we have focused on a theme which is commonplace in the West. However, creating an impact, making people curious and increasing the quality of urban living is the purpose of our theme.

 

What I’ve observed in Pakistan generally people flinch at the sight of dirt, a natural human response to filth but they do not mind filth gathered at one place making the entire street reek as hell. Why don’t people take action to remove dirt near their homes when it is so disgusting? One step towards getting used to garbage we throw is to make friends with it. That’s where we bring our garbage man.

 

PARK(ING) day and our project are different in execution but that’s because our dynamics are different and so our point of concern. However, we both stress improvements in the quality of urban living.

 

[1] Blaine Merker, ‘Taking Place: Rebar’s Absurd Tactics in Generous Urbanism’ (London and New York, Routledge Tyler & Francis Group), pp 45.

 

[2] Unknown, ‘About Park(ing) Day’.

http://parkingday.org/about-parking-day/ [Last Accessed: November 21, 2014].

 

[3] REBAR, ‘StreetFilms-San Francisco PARK(ing) Day’, [Published On November 2, 2006]

http://playit.pk/watch?v=VXkL7FBxAnA [Last Accessed: November 21, 2014]

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Final Paper

Site Intervention

In many areas in Karachi, we see trash mounting, reeking with bad odor and giving a bad appearance to the corner. We have seen garbage on fire and polluting the environment, making many of the passer bys difficult to breathe. The idea of trash taking a different shape might change the way people look at trash. Rather than trash becoming a sight of disgust and filth, it could take the form of social awareness. To implement this idea, we transformed waste papers, water bottles and cans into a human form.

One way of looking at it is to accept the fact that we are defined of what we consume. Our trash bins can say a lot about ourselves. However, the other side of it is to show how comfortable you are with garbage around you when they are handled well. In addition, how playful you can be with the waste we generate in our society, waste that we expose to others telling them about our attitude towards it.

The erosion of public spaces and public life is I think the greatest matter of concern since land in Karachi is not utilized for recreational purpose. Karachi with a population of 2 crores has very few places to go to improve their urban lifestyle. Most of these areas have been recently utilized for malls and business centers. There are parks but the ratio is low. Most of the open spaces are dunes of garbage, making it unhygienic for children, who play outside, and the passerby. The capitalist mindset will shuffle resources to the area where they think is more profitable in the long term, reducing the potential of a public space and other recreational sites for the benefit of the citizens.

The unfortunate situation in Karachi is even though we are a hub of businesses and a spine of Pakistan’s economy; we are unable to fulfill the basic needs of people like open spaces and fresh air.

The art work that most relate to ours is that of REBAR. REBAR is an art studio which started PARK(ING) Day. It is a movement to create awareness for public spaces. The project began in San Francisco when they found that parking spaces in downtown area can be transformed into temporary public spaces.[1] The mission of this movement is to bring awareness to the need for open urban spaces.[2],[3] Our mission is similar as well, however, given a different set of problems that Karachi in general has, we have focused on a theme which is commonplace in the West. However, creating an impact, making people curious and increasing the quality of urban living is the purpose of our theme.

What I have observed in Pakistan generally people flinch at the sight of dirt, a natural human response to filth but they do not mind filth gathered at one place making the entire street reek as hell. Why do not people take action to remove dirt near their homes when it is so disgusting? One step towards getting used to garbage we throw is to make friends with it. That is where we bring our garbage man.

It was first a team-based, collaborative project, where my partner was Feroza Gulzar, but later we went on with this project individually.

PARK(ING) day and our project are different in execution but that is because our dynamics are different and so our point of concern. However, we both stress improvements in the quality of urban living.

While executing the garbage man experiment, I was keen to see the response of people from different backgrounds (social and educational). And I noticed some unexpected reactions from them.

People in Abdullah Shah Ghazi were very confused and stared at the sculpture in a very questionable manner, there then one man came to ask if it was a project by ‘Bahria Town’. While others thought if it was a ‘mannat’ or was it a Jin?  The rest either ignored or simply laughed it off.

Our second location was in our own school premises, Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture. In our school I was very unsure if the people would even look at it. As in an arts school, even if a person runs down naked from the school’s reception to the canteen area, people would give a subtle glance to it and ignore the other second. Hence, I kept the sculpture near the main gate, which is the busiest area, as people walk in and out continuously; even then people hardly gave a look or took it seriously and thought that it was just another sculpture in campus occupying the walking space. They regarded it as a hurdle to their walking space and were a little annoyed.

I tried doing the same experiment outside a school. DA. Model High School, phase 4, caters students from nursery level to grade tenth.

On December 4th, 2014 I placed the sculpture at the school’s 3rd Gate at around 2 o’clock, when classes get over and children head back home in vans and cars. DA Model High School has a variety of students and there I noticed some very surprising reactions. Where some school children got scared and were backing off, hiding behind their friends, while one boy went closer to the sculpture to touch and run, just to impress his friends. The older girls were smiling, standing afar, when looking at the children’s reaction. Hence that space ended up becoming a playground for the younger ones where they were betting each other on their bravery, shoving and poking the sculpture, once confident. While the drivers who were first confused ended up laughing at the scene.

Art and Society.docx ejej

DA. Model High School, phase 4, Gate 3

To take this project further I thought of doing this task a little differently where I could make a living person into a garbage man. To execute this experiment I would first wear ragged clothes and attach garbage and newspapers on top, to the point that one cannot recognize if the model is actually a living being. Then I would choose a public site like a bazaar or park where I would carry out this project in rush hours and sit in the walkway and roll myself like a ball and go into a box filled with trash. This way the people passing by who once used to ignore trash, will see it much differently. In a way this action, for some people might be shocking, but in it would give a silent message to the people who litter places and ignore the trash in disgust. It will convey to people the importance of keeping the area clean. Executing this will be difficult but interesting. However, the occupation of space would be temporary by a living garbage man. While the sculpture garbage man can occupy space for much longer time till someone would sabotage it, which I did not notice coming from either the people near Abduallah Shah Ghazi or students of  DA Model High School. However, it is expected from the students of Indus Valley.

In every different site the sculpture played a different role. In Abdullah Shah Ghazi people just stared at it from a foreign perspective while in Indus Valley School passersby could find a connection to it as they considered it to be an art piece, on the other hand the school children reacted very good-humouredly hence making the space into a play area.

In all the cases people did notice and reacted towards the trash sculpture as opposed to ignoring heaps of trash.

[1] Blaine Merker, ‘Taking Place: Rebar’s Absurd Tactics in Generous Urbanism’ (London and New York, Routledge Tyler & Francis Group), pp 45.

[2] Unknown, ‘About Park(ing) Day’.

http://parkingday.org/about-parking-day/ [Last Accessed: November 21, 2014].

[3] REBAR, ‘StreetFilms-San Francisco PARK(ing) Day’, [Published On November 2, 2006]

http://playit.pk/watch?v=VXkL7FBxAnA [Last Accessed: November 21, 2014]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s