Karail

Karail, 2016–17
Video installation

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.” In February and March 2016, I conducted on-site research there, gathering audiovisual material with the aim of portraying Karail Basti not as a degenerate “slum,” but rather as a legitimate human settlement with its own nested logic of habitat production.

The video installation filters the settlement’s everyday life through three differentiated interfaces, taking inspiration from Henri Lefebvre’s “spatial triad” in The Production of Space (1991 [1974]). Each interface carries its own affective qualities: a video projection shows a perspectival view advancing methodically through the streets of Karail; a CRT video monitor displays palpable details at full scale; and a smartphone screen tracks the moving camera’s position on a map produced by Karail’s inhabitants.