MERA KARACHI MOBILE CINEMA
Working within the limitations and opportunities provided by the tentative nature of Karachi as a complex and shifting urban landscape, this collaborative mobile cinema set up free outdoor screenings in various parts of Karachi using homemade cell phone films and a rickshaw powered projector. We collaborated with residents across ethnically and economically diverse residential colonies and urban intersections to create an archive of cell phone videos about everyday life in the city.
This project worked with participants to produce self-generated media using locally available, vernacular technology. A series of free screenings in the everyday urban spaces where the videos were made created opportunities for new kinds of conviviality, offering different ways of reading the city’s various ‘public’ spaces.
The Mobile Cinema Rickshaw that projected these videos on walls, railway vehicles, ships and buildings was designed using a local vernacular of transportation and decoration in mind. Recognizable, yet strange, it became an additional metaphor for the re-thinking of existing spaces and identities. Traversing disparate territories, chugging through the busy metabolism of the city and eventually making pit stops to literally shed light on us (the inhabitants of the city) and reverse our gaze back to us, it formed a beautiful feedback loop where the vehicle allowed multiple strains of artistic practices to root themselves in the city.
Mera Karachi Mobile Cinema attempted to leave the comfortable and familiar realm of the art world and to become a 1:1 scale practice. Belying forced spectatorship and opening up dialogue across different cultures and viewpoints, the autonomous art object that is so valued and cherished was subverted (object as light, object as pixel, object as event) as an ephemeral series of images that appeared and disappeared.