Exhausted Geographies is a collaborative publishing practice by Shahana Rajani, Zahra Malkani and Abeera Kamran, based in Karachi, Pakistan. It is a series of publications exploring image, text and the city. Each volume of Exhausted Geographies mobilises a crucial, cross-disciplinary political imaginary to rethink current representations of Karachi and includes a wide range of topics that provide new insights into the social, spatial and discursive fabric of the city.
Exhausted Geographies II engages with landscapes at the intersection of infrastructure, war and ecological crisis in Karachi. We map the city through a new road named Jinnah Avenue, through the rusting remnants of railways, in the debris of what was once a mountain, in disappearing bodies of water, and against the ubiquitous borders proliferating across its landscape. These neo-colonial transformations, influenced by transnational networks of power, finance, and capital, are entangled with the military apparatus and take place in spaces of constructed invisibility. We look at the ways in which war and development manifest in these invisible landscapes and are sustained through environmental violence in the name of the nation-state.
Reading the city through emergent and decaying infrastructures, disappearing ecologies, and architectures of militarisation, this collection of texts and images draws on collective research undertaken for the Gadap Sessions – a course organized by Karachi LaJamia in collaboration with the Karachi Indigenous Rights Alliance in 2016. The Gadap Sessions set out to study and document the historical township of Gadap at the outskirts of Karachi in light of contemporary processes of development, displacement and climate change.
This publication has been made possible with the generous support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
A book by Zahra Malkani, Shahana Rajani and Abeera Kamran
Exhausted Geographies Vol.I is a radical engagement with the politics of representation and map-making in order to explore and produce new ways of seeing and imagining cities in the global south. This publication is a collection of 7 maps, each coupled with an essay, contributed by artists, architects, historians, urban planners, geographers and anthropologists working on/in Karachi. It is a coming together of different situated and localized knowledges to enable an exchange of ideas and methodologies beyond the borders of the academy and the art world. Using artistic and interdisciplinary research methods, the contributors subvert mapmaking into an open and critical medium to produce visual representations of space, temporality, politics and human relationships.
Exhausted Geographies mobilises a crucial, cross-disciplinary political imaginary to rethink current representations of Karachi and includes a wide range of topics that provide new insights into the social, spatial and discursive fabric of the city.
Borrowing the terminology of Irit Rogoff, this project takes as its starting point a moment of exhaustion from representations of and discourses around a city whose histories and geographies have collapsed into clichés. Rather than offering representations of the city as a single, fixed, knowable whole, this project is an assemblage of experimentations in ways of seeing, rendering, understanding and inhabiting the innumerable parallel realities of the city of Karachi. The city, too, is read as an assemblage, an open multiplicity of relations, encounters, movements – experienced and viewed in multiple scales, dimensions and perspectives.
Zahra Malkani and Shahana Rajani