Close to Karachi - an exhibition of new work by Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver, featuring sound, sculpture, print and found objects. The works are responses by the artists to a month's residency in Pakistan’s only port, the world’s second most populous city.
For their research the artists visited workshops making Pakistan’s distinctive truck art, and recorded the people and thoroughfares of the city. Touring lectures about their practice at three major universities, the conversation became a two-way research project - the dialogue orbiting around issues of social class (illustrated through the travel systems), the streets as locii of everyday life, and the politics of sound and silence. The works featured in this show range from photography (as a practice of creating "totems"), a sound installation responding to the materiality of the pieces and found objects that provide a dissonant postscript to Pakistan's history of self-determination.
Exhibition text extract by Natasha Morris Courtauld Institute of Art:
‘Close to Karachi’ presents the city’s social spaces as a fragmentary look into a place so dense and multifaceted that it is impossible to come to know as a whole.
Once called the ‘Gateway to Pakistan’, Karachi is home to 20 million living in a tightly constricted space. Once a thriving commercial centre, the country’s only port-city now sprawls into beaches and bazaars against the backdrop of structural socio-economic chaos and architectural decay and abeyance. What would the soundtrack to such a metropolis be? With its pronounced class divisions and manifold geographical boundaries, Karachi is a patchwork and a territory ripe for anthrophonic investigation. Atmospheric moments of multi-layered sonic bustle are punctuated often by insulated, resonant single notes. In most areas, the public domain of the street is frequented only by the underprivileged; the working class and the poor, while the rest are sheltered from this sonic ensemble inside their vehicles, engaging with the world around them almost accidentally, at a traffic light or on a jam, where the world literally comes knocking on their windows, asking for help. Amongst derelict structures in Art Nouveau and Venetian Gothic style, between the mass of rubbish that threatens to engulf everything around it, who are the ones to survive these harsh conditions and how can we create a visual language to convey the full range of the city’s complexities?
This exhibition seeks to examine different converging streams in the rich tapestry of Karachi’s society. At first, there is the street-level where on the edges of thriving informal economies, the dense soundscapes tell 100s of stories at once; in order to survive the city how do inhabitants manage escape this dense background noise? The second is the tale of modernity, a mysticism embodied by the ornate trucks and buses, the very same motor vehicles that drown out the sounds of the everyday life they pass, and where children are enlisted to work and endangered. And last, there is a new invasion of artefacts, charity donations from Britain, unwanted and unsold, filling the markets of Karachi with very personal, but now broadly anonymous histories from the very country from which Pakistan claimed its independence.
Preview 6-9pm October 15th 2015
Close to Karachi | Bradley-Weaver
16 October – 26 October 2015
Preview: Thursday 15 October 6-9pm
Edge of Arabia Gallery, London SW11 4AU (Map)
Opening times: Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm
Facebook Event Page
Travel - Nearest Tube is Sloane Square. Metered on-street parking is available.
Close to Karachi is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.