Odd Spaces Part 3

a project by Faisal Anwar

in partnership with Randy Horton, Toronto

Vasl collaborated with Medrar for Contemporary Art, an independent artists’ collective in Cairo, for the 4th Cairo Video Festival. Curated by Zarmeene Shah, a series of video installations, ‘Turbulent Waters’ was presented at the festival, which took place at the Goethe Institute in downtown Cairo. Critical Portraits of a Shifting Identity attempted to examine and analyse the framework around the development of video art in the context of a larger artistic practice within Pakistan. Although cinema and the cinematic has roots that are embedded deep within the culture – aesthetic and otherwise – of the sub-continent, and continues to influence many artistic practices within Pakistan, the medium of video in art is still a relatively new one. However, it is also a powerful medium that is recognized progressively be unique in the capacities that it allows artists to critically analyse, experiment, and expand upon their work in addition to their concerns. It creates means of communication – a different lens so to speak – through which to re-engage with existing concerns, and to communicate and articulate these works in ways that the still image or static art object is simply not able. Turbulent Waters attempted to trace a trajectory through contemporary artistic video practices in Pakistan. The artists represented in this show re-examine the political, the personal, the social, and the cultural milieu within which their practices are located, and to simultaneously rethink their own position within this framework, through the medium of video. In this way,they create a kind of critical portrait – a representation of the constituency of a shifting identity informed by the internal and the external, both of which are inextricably bound together within an often-volatile environment that is itself in perpetual motion.