Lines of Control

by Farida Batool

(Farida Batool is a PhD student at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She is studying film making.)

Hammad Nasar’s comments:

In Pakistan, a new generation of artists who did not witness their nation’s birth pangs has been able to pursue more critical lines of enquiry. Farida Batool’s larger than life “holographic” lenticular print mounted on board, Line of Control (2004), exemplifies this openness. It shows two bodies—one male, one female—from torso to mid-thigh, side-by-side. The image’s focal point is the line where the bodies meet. Shift in any direction and the illusory bodies move with you, but the line stays almost static.
The Lahore-based Batool uses the sexual act as a metaphor for the carnal intimacy of South Asia’s ruptured neighbors. The term “Line of Control,” or its three-letter acronym LOC, is embedded in the vernacular language and imagination of the subcontinent, referring to unfinished cartographic business in the disputed border region of Kashmir. More generally it refers to the messy legacy of decolonization. The line has been transgressed often—four wars since 1947, including a near-nuclear skirmish in 1999 at Kargill—and has consumed thousands of lives. Sex, with its varying associations of birth, death, union, play, submission, domination and consent, brings this synergy into visceral focus.

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