Mongrel Cities gestures towards the dense networks of trade and commodity exchange through which image and sound cross borders. The film follows a fictional character in his journey through contemporary Delhi, to deliver a package he has chanced upon, wondering when and where he is going to arrive. As he travels, the city unfolds a palimpsest of other cities he’s familiar with. All cities are the same. Smoke, dust, hoardings, CCTV cameras, Pepsi bottles, pirated DVDs and the flotsam and jetsam that floats through its gutters and spills onto its streets.
|The migrants who carried by the rides of history have landed on the shores of a city, often carrying nothing but their memories- inscribed on the texture of the city, through stories and silences. The memories of migrants have autographed the city of Delhi with a Quetta High School, Lahorian Di Hatti, Pindi restaurant, Park Baluchi and Shahadara across the river.
Mongrel Cities attempts to excavate the cities of remembrance, and subversion, through the metaphor of the package as a carrier of history. It tries to understand the ways in which we build relationships with our memory- when the warmth and solace of recollection becomes too heavy to bear, when the task of letting go, of re-packing becomes almost as important as the task of remembering.
|Credits: Aarti Sethi, Anand Vivek Taneja, Iram Ghufran and
Acknowledgements: Bhagwati Prasad, Asim Khan
Produced by the Sarai Media Lab, 2004
Mongrel Cities has been shown at the Aar Paar Public Arts Project, Lahore, 2004 and World Social Forum, Porte Alegre, 2005 among other places.