Cities, like trees, grow in different directions, yet their centre remains fixed. In our times cities have become ideas, which cannot be fathomed fully, grasped totally or comprehended completely. A person spends his/her life trying to know an idea or a city, but both seem to be out of reach.
Then how to approach a city? In fact there are more than one metropolis at a location. First the one, normally observed by eyes, which is constructed in mortar, stone, brick, steel and wood. It is planned, and houses innumerable inhabitants. Spread on great expanse of land, it connects people through roads, workspaces, places of worship, parks and points of pleasure. At the same instance there is another town that exists in our ideas, memories, recollections and dreams; and manifests in the works of art, fiction, films etc.
Often the two cities, physical and its representation in human expression coincide or collide, yet what comes out of it is a third entity, beyond its point of reference. It assumes its own reality and leads an individual away from its geographical, cultural and political borders. A person may find same city that he/she has been living since years, redefined due to new ways of looking, searching, readings and interacting with other citizens.
Thus each contact with a metropolis makes it a new entity, no matter if that contact is made through the lens of a camera, with brush and paint, using a pencil and paper, letters on a laptop, a video camera. Any individual who records his/her sojourn in the city presents and projects his/her vision and version of what has been experienced by millions of other inhabitants, visitors, strangers.
Perhaps the forthcoming Lahore Biennale would also be a particular view of city, and art in/around it. The city of Lahore may not serve being a site only, but a concept, point of reference and a point of departure too, since cities are not merely buildings, roads and grounds, but consist of people, who bestow and possess the character of a certain place. Lahore Biennale certainly contributes toward realization of this reality, not confined to one town, but the urban experience of an individual in present times. Art Now Pakistan, focusing on Lahore Biennale presents essays, profile and interview related to this great art event, which is not landlocked, because what we may witness, encounter, share and cherish in the spring of 2018, can be an experience that is universal. Like each human being despite the difference of race, religion, language, locality, custom, is universal – in his/her veins, organs, blood, bones, and body.