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The outcome of repeated explorations of Karachi, Bani Abidi’s drawings of safety barriers provide a topographic listing of the different types placed near embassies, airports and other "sensitive" spots; the aim being to preclude any likelihood of riots, assemblies or invasions of the buildings in question. Some of the barriers are overtly aggressive, others use plants as a form of ornamental disguise intended to make them merge with the surrounding urban furniture. In her drawings of intercoms produced according to the same principle, banality of form and greyness of colour evoke the bureaucratic. At the core of Bani Abidi’s oeuvre is official intrusion in its most overt and most discreet forms, as the artist humorously breaks down the mechanisms at work in these various modes of protection; by retaining only certain meaningful and quasi-decorative characteristics, as in a catalogue, she neutralises the basic function of these symbolic objects.

Bani ABIDI
Intercommunication Devices, 2008
Photos: Blaise Adilon
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