19-20 September 2015 (Lahore)

The Gandi Engine Commission is an experimental, site-specific workshop that navigates through the Ravi to explore themes of development and destruction, waste and toxicity. Drawing on the Persian meaning of the word ‘Ravi’ as ‘Narrator’ we activate the river as a site of storytelling – tapping into the memories and archives within its subsoil, from colonial histories to the neo-colonial present.

Deriving our title from a defunct sewage treatment plant off the Ravi, the Gandi Engine (dirty engine), the project looks at the river as a recipient and vessel of the copious and continuous sewage of the city. While numerous commissions have been installed to reverse the death/destruction of the Ravi, our workshop is designed as a walk to pause, reflect and re-examine our relationship as urban dwellers to the landscape and ecology we inhabit, to ask what it means to live and work with the waste, residue and detritus of the city – with what is cast aside.

The workshop was completed with a site specific 4-channel video projection at Shah Deen Park, where a defunct sewage treatment plant pumps toxic waste into the river, across the street from a metal workshop processing scrap metal from Gadani (Balochistan’s shipbreaking yard) before selling it to the steel industries of Punjab. The installation consisted of four video projections across these two sites, highlighting the geopolitical intersections between the local and global circulation of waste which render these sites into monuments to capitalism – to the endless and relentless production of waste and suffering, a fallout of global capitalist imperialism.

  • Introduction
  • Colonialism and Conquest
  • Wastelands I: Pastoralism and Productivity
  • Wastelands II: Detritus and Developement
  • Living with Discarded things
  • Soundwalk (Syma Tariq)
  • Reflections
  • Video Projections at Gandi Engine and scrap metal warehouse

The Gandi Engine Commission was created by the Tentative Collective for, “Ancestors: Architecture of Memory”, a program curated by Natasha Ginwala . We were joined by Syma Tariq as a collaborator for part of our workshop. The Gandi Engine Commission was supported by the Lahore Biennale Foundation.