Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Life in Ruins: Materiality, the City, and the Production of Critique in the Art of Naiza Khan

  • Karin Zitzewitz
Abstract

Naiza Khan's The Manora Archive (2007–), the product of her long-term engagement with a small island in Karachi's harbor, is exemplary of both Pakistan's vibrant contemporary art and its burgeoning discourse of urban space. Dominated by a naval base and port rejuvenation project, nearly all of Manora's civilian population was bought out by investors in 2006 for a now-abandoned real estate development. Khan has recorded the island's abandoned architecture in photographs and video, documenting its descent into ruins. Her visual archive, which also includes drawings, prints, and paintings based on the photographs, presents Manora's ruins as metonymic of Karachi's colonial and postcolonial histories. This article makes two interlocking claims: first, that Khan's artistic work supplements scholarship on the relationship between violence and urban development by highlighting issues of temporality and bodily experience, and, second, that her work productively exploits the tension between the documentary mode and more traditional artistic media.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Anwar Nausheed H. 2012. “State Power, Civic Participation and the Urban Frontier: The Politics of the Commons in Karachi.” Antipode 44(3):601–20.
Anwar Nausheed H., and Sarwat Viqar. 2014. “Producing Cosmopolitan Karachi: Freedom, Security and Urban Redevelopment in the Post-colonial Metropolis.” South Asian History and Culture 5(3):328–48.
Asdar Ali Kamran. 2008. “Pulp Fictions: Reading Pakistani Domesticity.” In Gendering Urban Space in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, eds. Rieker Martina and Ali Kamran Asdar, 71100. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Asdar Ali Kamran, and Rieker Martina, eds. 2009. Comparing Cities: The Middle East and South Asia. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
Asian Human Rights Commission. 2013. “The Country Has Gone Mad, No Doubt (Statement on Perveen Rehman).” http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-061-2013 (accessed July 30, 2014).
Benjamin Walter. 1999. The Arcades Project. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Boym Svetlana. 2001. The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books.
Breman Jan. 2012. “The Undercities of Karachi.” New Left Review 76:4863.
Chiu Melissa, and Genocchio Benjamin. 2010. Asian Art Now. New York: Monicelli Press.
Cotter Suzanne. 2009. “The Documentary Turn: Surpassing Tradition in the Work of Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari.” In Contemporary Art of the Middle East, ed. Sloman Paul, 5057. London: Black Dog Publishing.
Dadi Iftikhar. 2007. “Political Posters in Karachi, 1989–1999.” South Asian Popular Culture 5(1):1130.
Dadi Iftikhar. 2009a. “Ghostly Sufis and Ornamental Shadows: Spectral Visualities in Karachi's Public Sphere.” In Comparing Cities: The Middle East and South Asia, eds. Ali Kamran Asdar and Rieker Martina, 159–96. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
Dadi Iftikhar. 2009b. “Nuclearization and Pakistani Popular Culture Since 1998.” In South Asian Cultures of the Bomb: Atomic Publics and the State in India and Pakistan, ed. Abraham Itty, 173–94. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Dadi Iftikhar. 2010a. “Manora's Fraught Trajectories.” In Naiza H. Khan: Restore the Boundaries: The Manora Project (exhibition catalog), 710. London: Rossi & Rossi Gallery.
Dadi Iftikhar. 2010b. Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia. Raleigh: University of North Carolina Press.
Dadi Iftikhar. 2010c. “Registering Crisis: Ethnicity in Pakistani Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s.” In Beyond Crisis: Re-Evaluating Pakistan, ed. Khan Naveeda, 145–76. New Delhi: Routledge.
Dadi Iftikhar. 2012. “Curating South Asia.” Guggenheim UBS Map Blog, October 1. http://blogs.guggenheim.org/map/curating-south-asia/ (accessed June 12, 2013).
Dadi Iftikhar, and Khan Naiza. 2013. “Manora to Karachi: A Conversation.” In Naiza Khan: Works 1987–2013, ed. Masters H. G., 135–40. Hong Kong: Art AsiaPacific Publications with Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.
Dillon Brian, ed. 2011. Ruins. London: Whitechapel Gallery; Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Enwezor Okwui. 2008. Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art. New York: International Center of Photography; Göttingen: Steidl Publishers.
Express Tribune. 2014. “Perveen Rehman Murder Case: Rights Activists Demand JIT.” May 5. http://tribune.com.pk/story/704244/perveen-rehman-murder-case-rights-activists-demand-jit/ (accessed July 30, 2014).
Farrukhi Asif, ed. 2008. Look at the City from Here: Karachi Writings. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
Fekri Reem. 2010. “Interview with Artist, Naiza Khan.” Art Dubai Journal 7.
Foster Hal. 2004. “An Archival Impulse.” October 110:322.
Gayer Laurent. 2007. “Guns, Slums, and ‘Yellow Devils’: A Genealogy of Urban Conflicts in Karachi, Pakistan.” Modern Asian Studies 41(3):515–44.
Halle Julia, and Schönle Andreas, eds. 2010. Ruins of Modernity. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
Hasan Arif. 2000. Understanding Karachi: Planning and Reform for the Future. Karachi: City Press.
Hasan Arif. 2010a. “Land and the Politics of Ethnicity.” Dawn, June 16. http://arifhasan.org/articles/land-and-the-politics-of-ethnicity (accessed June 18, 2013).
Hasan Arif. 2010b. Participatory Development. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
Hasan Arif, and Raza Mansoor. 2012. “Karachi: The Land Issues.” Unpublished report, June 27. http://www.urckarachi.org/IIED%20Karachi%20Land%20Study%20by%20Arif%20Hasan%20%28%2002%20July%202012%29.pdf (accessed June 13, 2013).
Hashmi Salima, ed. 2009. Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan. New York: Asia Society.
Huyssen Andreas. 2006. “Nostalgia for Ruins.” Grey Room 23:621.
Inskeep Steve. 2012. Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi. New York: Penguin Books.
Jaffri Yasmin, and Verkaaik Oskar. 2011. “Sacrifice and Dystopia: Imagining Karachi through Edhi.” In Urban Navigations: Politics, Space, and the City in South Asia, eds. Anjaria Jonathan Shapiro and McFarlane Colin, 319–37. London: Routledge.
Kaker Sobia Ahmed. 2014. “Enclaves, Insecurity and Violence in Karachi.” South Asian History and Culture 5(1):93107.
Kapur Geeta. 2007. “subTERRAIN.” Third Text 21(3):277–96.
Khan Naiza H. 2010. The Rising Tide. Karachi: Mohatta Palace Museum.
Khan Naiza H. 2012. “Naiza H. Khan: Projects 2012.” Unpublished proposal.
Khan Naiza H., and Raza Nada. 2014. “Mobile Horizon: The Geography of Water.” In The Weight of Things: New Works by Naiza Khan, curated by Malik Maha (exhibition catalog), 4460. Karachi: Koel Gallery.
Khan Naveeda, ed. 2010. Beyond Crisis: Re-evaluating Pakistan. New Delhi: Routledge.
Khattak Sohail. 2013. “Orangi Pilot Project Director Gunned Down in Karachi.” Express Tribune, March 13. http://tribune.com.pk/story/520216/orangi-pilot-project-director-dies-in-firing/ (accessed June 18, 2013).
Krauss Rosalind. 1999. “Reinventing the Medium.” Critical Inquiry 25(2):289305.
Krauss Rosalind. 2009. “The Guarantee of the Medium.” In Writing in Context: French Literature, Theory, and the Avant Gardes, eds. Arppe Tiina, Kaitaro Timo, and Mikkonen Kai, Collegium 5:139–45. http://www.helsinki.fi/collegium/journal/volumes/volume_5/index.htm (accessed June 17, 2013).
Kwon Miwon. 2004. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Malkani Zahra. 2014. “Parde Mein Rehne Do, Parda na Uthao [Leave Me Veiled, Do Not Remove My Veil]: Opacity and the Refusal to Represent in Contemporary Artworks in Karachi.” ArtNow Pakistan. http://www.artnowpakistan.com/articles.php?article=Parde-Mein-Rehne-Do,-Parda-Na-Uthao:-Opacity-and-The-Refusal-To-Represent-In-Contemporary-Artworks-In-Karachi (accessed July 25, 2014).
Masters H. G., ed. 2013. Naiza Khan: Works 1987–2013. Hong Kong: Art AsiaPacific Publications with Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.
Nasar Hammad. 2013. “Karachi Pop: Vernacular Visualities in 1990s Karachi.” Guggenheim UBS Map Blog, February 11. http://blogs.guggenheim.org/map/karachi-pop-vernacular-visualities-in-1990s-karachi/ (accessed July 2, 2014).
Parenti Christian. 2011. “Pakistan One Year after the Floods.” Nation, July 1825. http://www.thenation.com/article/161733/pakistan-one-year-after-floods (accessed July 24, 2014).
Rieker Martina, and Ali Kamran Asdar, eds. 2008. Gendering Urban Space in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ring Laura. 2006. Zenana: Everyday Peace in a Karachi Apartment Building. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Roth Michael, with Lyons Claire and Merewether Charles. 1997. Irresistible Decay: Ruins Reclaimed. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute.
Sambrani Chaitanya. 2004. “Printing across Borders: The Aar-Paar Project 1.” Art Monthly Australia 171:1215.
Siddiqui Hira. 2011. “‘Blessed Conquest’ Ran between Karachi and Thatta for the British: Historian Mubarak Ali.” Express Tribune, February 24. http://tribune.com.pk/story/123019/blessed-conquest-ran-between-karachi-and-thatta-for-the-british-historian-mubarak-ali/ (accessed June 25, 2013).
Stoler Ann Laura. 2008. “Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination.” Cultural Anthropology 23(2):191219.
Taylor Nora. 2011. “Art without History? Southeast Asian Artists and Their Communities in the Face of Geography.” Art Journal 70(2):723.
Verkaaik Oskar. 2004. Migrants and Militants: Fun and Urban Violence in Pakistan. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Verkaaik Oskar. 2008. “Cosmopolistan: Culture, Cosmopolitanism, and Gender in Karachi, Pakistan.” In Gendering Urban Space in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, eds. Rieker Martina and Ali Kamran Asdar, 207–28. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Waraich Saleema. 2011. “Locations of Longing: The Ruins of Old Lahore.” Third Text 25(6):699713.
Whiles Virginia. 2010. Art and Polemic in Pakistan: Cultural Politics and Tradition in Contemporary Miniature Painting. London: I. B. Tauris.
Hung Wu. 2008. “Internalizing Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Chinese Contemporary Art.” In Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Chinese Contemporary Art, ed. Hung Wu, 1132. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago.
Yusuf Huma. 2011. “City of Lights: Nostalgia, Violence and Karachi's Competing Imaginaries.” In Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia, eds. Anjaria Jonathan Shapiro and McFarlane Colin, 298318. London: Routledge.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-9118
  • EISSN: 1752-0401
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 47 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 377 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd February 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.