VASL Launches It’s 2005-06 Catalogue with Bani Abidi. Yesterday, VASL launched their Catalogue for the year 2006 – 2007 at T2F. The two part launch event started with a brief introduction of the achievements VASL made through the years providing both local and international artists an opportunity to learn and understand from the diversities between cultures. The speakers also highlighted the security issues they faced due to the unrest in the country specially when they had foreign visiting artists with them but it was a relive or rather a pleasure to know that despite all the security issues the visiting artists always tell them that they want to come to Pakistan over and over again. the later half of the event VASl had invited a world renowned artist Bani Abidi. Born in Karachi, Bani is one of the few local artists working in video-art. Video-art is a fairly new art form for the people of Pakistan. The last time Karachi had an opportunity to experience video-art was at an exhibition held at the V.M.Art Gallery some years back or may be at the Kara Film Festival but a film festival is not a place to put up a video-art mostly because it’s not actually a movie but only an idea that that the artist delivers through a simple few minute video, unlike a film which needs to have a story to follow. Video art is an installation art which requires one or more of video screens which loop a video in synchronized or random manner depending on how the artist would want it to be displayed. Public places are ideal for putting up a video art installation as people can conceive an idea more easily in an informal way while going about their lives.

At the event Bani Abidi was kind enough to share with the audience three of her video-art works on a projector screen. The first of her work was titled ” … So he starts singing”, a video compiled by extracting specific segments of 26 narrative of different Indian movies by a women who describes the occurrence of Indian movies with great excitement and enthusiasm. The work highlight the absurdity we take for granted in Indian movies, the artist skillfully exaggerated the factor compiling it in to one enjoyable and hilarious 3:30 Sec loop-back video.

Her second video-art was ” Shan pipe band learns the star Spangled Banner”, created in 2004, the video highlights the trouble our society goes through to learn The Western Way of living. The video showed a pipe band listening to the American national anthem and later trying to play the band on the same tune, and in the end when they finally play the band on the anthem’s tune it sounded as bad the practice would make you look in real life.

The third and the last one of the video was titled “Reserved”. A 9 min video which showed a vip motorcade, on it’s way attend some ceremony, traffic on a halt, school children impatiently waiting to present a greeting, people waiting for the important personality at the venue to arrival, and they all wait, wait and wait endlessly but the motorcade is still on the way till the end. the end the event concluded with an interesting discussion with Bani Abidi and Adnan Madani during which besides other things a need to promote video-art in Pakistan was highlighted, because although many local artists are working in the area they sadly don’t have a venue to exhibit their video-art locally.

The two hour event was a refreshing experience, such events are much needed throughout the country so people can experience and learn to enjoy and conceive from different forms of art also because art plays an important role in shaping the society and we are much in need of it.

The VASL catalogue for the year 2006-2007, and also the two of their previous ones are available for sale at T2F.

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