Hosted by the Goethe-Institut Pakistan, the Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF), Beaconhouse National University and the Centre for Culture and Development (CKU), City in Context successfully concluded at the Al hamra Arts Council Lahore.
City in Context was a mixture of discussions, exhibitions and lectures bringing together artists and architects, musicians, activists, urbanists and various other practitioners from diverse fields of study.
Specifically, Day 01 was themed Urbanities – Art and Public Spacen Pakistan which is a critical exploration of the urban. Throughout 2016, the project incited discursive and artistic contributions and interventions related to Pakistan’s multidimensional urban space. Germany-based and Pakistani artists were invited to engage with Karachi and Lahore in an artist residency, and German-Spanish architecture collective carried out an investigative research project on informal urban design practices and collective technologies.
The symposium presented research and works produced during the residencies, complemented by a series of engaging talks, performances and a workshop. International and local urbanists, artists and activists will recollect once more “the right to the city” in notions of community and practice, artivism and public art, environmentalism and contested space, along with multiple meanings of mapping.
The second day of City in Context was a mixture of discussions, exhibitions and performances bringing together artists, architects, musicians, activists, urbanists and various other practitioners from diverse fields of study. The evening concluded with a musical performance by Ali Sethi with the traditional musicians from the Mirasi community.
Specifically, Day 02 was themed Stories We Tell (Aao Sunayein Kahani) which an audio-visual storytelling project is. For several months, story-sharing booths were placed in public spaces to collect and disseminate individual anecdotes and stories about experiences intrinsic to Lahore. Alongside this, a series of public talks titled ‘art SPEAK’ discussed themes emanating from the project. In a spirit of mutual exchange, a group of students from BNU also worked with members of the Mirasi community to elicit their perspective on the storytelling tradition. The concluding component as part of the symposium consisted of panel discussions and presentations with writers, practitioners and academics, along with an exhibition of collected audio-visual stories. The evening ended with a collaborative performance titled ‘Loki Kehnde’ by renowned vocalist Ali Sethi and traditional musicians belonging to the Mirasi community.