Tentative Collective: Gandi Engine Commission



The Gandi Engine Commission is an experimental, site-specific workshop that navigates through the Ravi river in Pakistan to explore themes of development, destruction, waste and toxicity. Drawing on the Persian meaning of the, word ‘ravi’ as ‘narrator’, and taking its name from a decommissioned sewage treatment plant, the project, recreated in the exhibition ‘Climactic: Post Normal Design’, was designed as a workshop and a walk to reflect on the waste and refuse that the cities produce and dump into the river. The commission was structured around the following issues: colonialism and conquest, pastoralism and productivity, detritus and development, living with discarded things, and a soundwalk. The walk culminated in a site specific video projection in a park near the plant, and brings attention to the local and global circulation of waste in the service of neoliberal capitalism, and its relation to the continued suffering of the people who live on the banks of these flows of refuse. The recreation of the work in this exhibition includes photographs taken from the Ravi Waste Inventory and an audio recording of the workshop held in Lahore.

The Gandi Engine commission workshop was recorded for a A Thousand Channels, a series of radio episodes that traced the journey of the traveling public programme Ancestors (South Asia, 2015), curated by Natasha Ginwala. These episodes aurally attend to the Indian subcontinent through conversations, oral histories and field recordings, and also incorporate performative work, film excerpts, internet rips and other sonic elements. This site is an evolving archive of a project that tries to chart shared histories and common horizons in the region. 


The Tentative Collective, led by Yaminay Chaudhri, Fazal Rizvi, Shahana Rajani, Zahra Malkani, and Hajra Haider is a gathering of artists, curators, teachers, architects and often, collaborators from completely different backgrounds including fishermen, housewives and domestic workers. It was established in 2011 and are based in Karachi, Pakistan. While they work site specifically in response to the city, they are also interested in engaging with its peculiar co-opting of global modernity in the rapidly transforming landscapes of the global south; in particular, the precarious urban geographies of the city and the voids it opens for groups like ours to inhabit. Navigating through these precarious urban geographies, they hope to create poetic and ephemeral moments in conversation with the city’s infrastructures, while making connections to its complex ecological and geological histories.