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A Fence Gives Way

A Fence Gives Way is an introspection on the ‘un- becoming’ of a fence. A site of contest and conflict becomes everyday; and an everyday accretion becomes monumental. The fence carries within itself numerous narratives of sightings and crossings; many claims, marked by presence and ritual. The work is a single channel video of objects collecting on a fence in a seemingly frontier landscape. The sound track is a of a strong wind that could almost blow the fence away; at times one can hear horns, sirens, ring tones and voices. Civilization is in close proximity, yet distant.


The fence is no longer an object visibilized through newspaper photographs, television news and on the cinema screen. As the city becomes a site of regular 'warfare' between the people and the State, a fence, a border, a security check is an everyday reality. Its presence amidst office buildings, traffic signals, residential housing, factories, hotels, cinema halls and public parks make fencing a 'normal' and accepted addition to the architecture of the contemporary metropolis. The relationship with the fence at the border, or the fence in the city, can no longer be viewed as arbitrary. People stake claims and A Fence Gives Way is a homage to those who made claims on the fence, the border, and the land, through their appropriations, and their crossings.


The video begins with a fragile fence upon which objects accumulate - a shoe, a toilet seat, a sand bag, a scarf, a kite - indications of temporary habitation of the site of the fence and a stubbornness of people who disregard its presence and purpose. The tying of a wish thread and cloth (mannat in Hindi- Urdu) is a popular ritual in South Asia - one can see these at Muslim Sufi shrines, Hindu temples, trees and sometimes old buildings. The artist uses this popular act of appropriation through ritual, to take over this fence.


Additional Credits:

Camera: Kashif Siddiqui 

Technical details: 2010 | single channel | colour | stereo | dv pal | 10'28 | looped 

A Fence Gives Way.jpg
Film Still, A Fence Gives Way, 2010
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