Amader Pathagar (A Library of Our Own), 2021
2-channel HD video installation, dimensions variable, 18 min.
Sadia Sharmin and Benjamin Busch
Framed as an encounter, the story of the Shaheed Rumi Memorial Library, situated in the self-organized settlement Karail Basti in Dhaka, Bangladesh, unfolds through a series of interviews and visual materials depicting spatial imaginaries. Although they use the term “library” for this politically conscious social organization, which carries a collective ideology against the hegemonic system, and believes in the power of resistance from the grassroots, the group expands its activities and actions beyond reading. They represent strength against the authoritarian perspective and challenge the limitations of informality. A space like this is rare even in the “formal” neighborhoods of Dhaka, and around the world.
Interviews conducted there in February 2020, above all with the young members of the library, reflect the group’s history, activities and dreams for the future. Presented in two channels, the viewer observes a multilayered representation of the encounter in a way that both challenges cinematic immersion and builds a bridge between the space of screening and the space of everyday life in Karail Basti. Visually, it combines the interviews with collective drawings produced in workshops led by Sadia Sharmin as well as 3D scans of the space produced by Benjamin Busch. Part of the Habitat Forum Berlin Archive (est. 2009), the work contributes to ongoing research with and about Karail Basti.