The Second Floor (T2F) was one of the first open artistic spaces in Karachi. The kind of place where anyone could go to vent, express and find a sanctuary for freedom of speech. I have been fascinated with it as long as I can remember. Now a lot of such places have opened up, but somehow, none of them embody that spirit of tolerance which T2F did under Sabeen Mahmud. Sabeen Mahmud was murdered for her tolerance and her desire to inspire change. Murdered by the very same crowd that protested the streets when a Christian woman was acquitted for her blasphemy charges, despite the fact that the Supreme Court made this decision in light of the fact that there was NO EVIDENCE. So in a place like Pakistan, T2F symbolizes something potentially great. I feel like her death did dim its spark and it has been taken over by elitist artists who turn into yet another space to make art inaccessible. But, in any case, it was a space that I really wanted to work with, owing to its history.
An open mic night is like giving speakers, poets and musicians the floor to express themselves. Since my project, The Untold Edition, was all about the city of Karachi, our theme for the event was reflections on Karachi. Our hashtag on social media was #KarachiReimagined which pretty much says it all.
The following videos document everything that happened but before I sign off, I just want to pen a few reflections here:
- While hosting events like these you get to meet such amazing people!
- I never realized how nervous I would get as organizer and MC. I was literally shaking! And I’m usually pretty confident in front of a crowd. I guess this is where public art intersects with studio practice. To me, the Untold Edition was a work of art, my art, and sharing it with the crowd was frightening and filled with uncertainty