Karail, 2016–17
Video installation
Two channels, 14 min. each

Karail Basti, the subject of the video installation Karail, is a 190,000 m² self-organized settlement in Dhaka, Bangladesh with approximately 120,000 inhabitants. Often designated as a “slum,” the Bengali word basti translates simply to “settlement.” The work portrays Karail Basti not as a degenerate “slum,” but rather as a legitimate human settlement with its own nested logic of habitat production. Everyday life, in all its abundance, is represented via images corrupted by architecture, and vice versa.

Utilizing wood and corrugated iron, the installation emphasizes the settlement’s vernacular materiality and tectonics. It carries fragments of the everyday: a “LUCKY” brick and a painted zebu figure in reference to Cow Brand sheet metal. Two original videos show alternate modes of spatial perception: a walk-through video projected on corrugated iron meanders through Karail Basti’s labyrinthine passages, maintaining its rationalist one-point perspective; a video shown on a CRT monitor zooms into the sensuality of human-material interactions.

Documented at the exhibition, bitte bitte bitte – Weissensee School of Art Degree Show, SEZ Berlin, July–August 2017.

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