Whereabouts Unknown / Ata Pata Maloom Nahin merges real and fabricated events, to explore questions of nationhood, histories and the museum complex in South Asia.
The animation is part of a wider project that looks at how language, monument-making, and systems of archiving and display were used as tools of shaping and understanding identity in the Indian subcontinent during the British Raj and continue to do so today.
The script and language is based on broadcasts, memos, and fiction, reflecting on the state of imperial and national histories in museum making projects, and negotiations and considerations of colonial legacies in such spaces.
A combination of fictional and authentic happenings present ambitions, bureaucracy, a desire to modernise, and confusion. Some things get lost in translation and representation, while simultaneously allowing for the possibility of new conditions and ways of being to emerge.
Sophia Balagamwala is a multidisciplinary artist and curator based in Karachi. Her practice explores the space where history meets nonsense, and questions how histories are written and disseminated. Her work verges on satire taking inspiration from museum building, archives, current politics, and children’s books. The context of her practice arises from the Indian subcontinent, and is concerned with a wider exploration of how national narratives are constructed.
Balagamwala has a BA from the University of Toronto and an MFA from Cornell University. She has previously worked as the Lead Curator of the National History Museum in Lahore, and is currently an advisor for the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a non-profit which she has worked with for over 8 years. Recently Balagamwala founded Kurachee, a platform that facilitates animation, illustration and design collaborations and workshops. As a part of this project, she is curating a reading room at the COMO Museum, Lahore, to encourage research and create dialogue around local artist publications. She is an adjunct faculty member at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.