All posts by Saniya Jafri

A 25 year old Architect from the tirelessly developing country of Pakistan. I love writing. I love Art and Architecture. I absolutely love travelling. And I love writing about my experiences. Life has been too kind to me. I have tons to write about. Whats it like trying to find myself in the midst of a religious family? Chaotic. Revealing. Intense. Whats it like to be a part of a country that's really trying to prove its unique identity? Wonderful. Experiential. Not very Free.

Rickshaw Rides Entry Five

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NotKnowing

“I love the process of not knowing what something is beforehand.” – Alma Har’elNot knowing

If you’ve seen the music video for Beirut’s ‘Elephant Gun’, you know what Im talking about when I say that Alma Har’el is pure genius. Her work is recognized for her expression through modern dance, landscape and character, and for her ability to create images with an honest balance of emotions; heavyhearted as much as they are joyful and playful.

Her latest Documentary is not really your traditional documentary.  It revolves around the lives of one particular boy, unfolding almost like a drama. She’ll have you hooked to the surreal choreography, the dance sequences and the music by Beirut and Bob Dylan.

Winner of the Tribeca Best Documantary 2011, the catalog of the year  describes the movie as below:

‘The rusting relic of a failed 1950s development boom, the Salton Sea is a barren Californian landscape often seen as a symbol of the failure of the American Dream.

A sea in the middle of the Colorado desert.

First-time director Alma Har’el visits this poetically fruitful terrain in her distinctive documentary Bombay Beach, and finds there a motley cast including a bipolar seven-year-old, a lovelorn high school football star, and an octogenarian poet-prophet. Together they make up a triptych of American manhood in its decisive moments, populating the Salton Sea’s land of thwarted opportunity.

True to her roots as a photographer, video artist, and music video director, Har’el crafts here an adamantly atypical and artistically innovative film—a dreamlike poem that sets the personal stories of these distinctive yet familiar characters to a stylized amalgam of observational documentary and choreographed dance, with music by Beirut and Bob Dylan, all cast against the atmospheric scenery of the titular ghost town.

The result is a moving and surreal documentary experience—an evocative, symbolic portrait of rural America and its inhabitants. Winner of the Tribeca film festival doc competition.’

Heres the link for the Trailer for Bombay Beach. This movie touched me in several different ways. And I hope it does for you too!

For more info check out the official website:

bombaybeachfilm.com

Accidental Detours

The element of surprise is what I love about the older parts of cities.
Chaotic little gullies, far more populated streets, jharokas of the old Sikh and Mughal buildings peeking out at you, tea stalls, food kiosks (dhaabas) at unexpected nooks and rickshaws and bikes honking at the passerby are just a few of the spectacles.
You just never know what awaits you right around the corner.

We had the most delicious tea at the Bhatti Tea Stall, and accidentally went into a narrow street that led us straight to the Shrine (Mazaar) of Bibi Pak Daaman.

The constantly apparent animal-like greed of the workers at the shrine was the highlight of the day. The women at the security check wanted chandaa (money) for tea, the men taking care of our shoes, that we took off outside the shrine out of respect, also wanted chandaa for the food that was going to be distributed later that night. This money seemed more forced out of the crowd that given out of real respect and deference.

It’s quite sad to see these places deteriorate so rapidly. You can no longer feel a real spiritual essence in the air around you. The world is commercializing around us; does it make sense for these special little places to become commercial hubs as well?

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Bhatti Tea Stall – Try to Love, don’t be envious.
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Inside the Shrine
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Inside the Shrine. A Busy Sunday Evening Followed by Niyaaz for everyone
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Prayers and Salutations
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Board inside the Shrine with the names of the four caliphs.

Rickshaw Rides Entry Three

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On one of those hot and humid scintillating days on the streets of Lahore, an ingenious Rickshaw wala devices a way to keep the scorching sun out. Works for me. The temperature of the picture says everything that there is to be said about the heat that day. It also says a whole lot more of the increased fierceness of the sun expected in the upcoming days.  Damn. Hold on tight, Lahoris.

Intersections: Where the Bus Stops

Fancy Days, getting our Bus Stop design published in a magazine.
I participated in a local Bus Stop design Competition for the Lahore Transport Company a couple of months back. It was organized by the Lahore Bienniale Foundation, Parks and Horticultural Authority and  Lahore Commissioner’s Office. It eventually got selected among five other designs and we got called in for a workshop under the Social Innovation Lab in Lahore. The three week design research workshop introduced us to Human Centered Design to further develop our Bus Stops towards the construction phase.

The crux of the workshop was a paper on the Social Study of the Existing Bus Stops in Lahore using Inductive and Deductive Research Techniques with Implemented Prototypes. I will be uploading the paper and videos that we developed out of the workshop shortly.

We were then expected to present the finalized design (shown in the image below) to a diverse jury panel.

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Very recently, our bus stop design also got published in Good Times as FOR ART’S SAKE- Intersections: Where the Bus Stops. Super Exciting. Proud Moments.

The construction of our stop is under way. Onsite Construction pictures and stories coming up soon. Stay tuned!