'Encroachments' by Shezad Dawood

Left: Encroachments I (Jinnah) Right: Encroachments III (Defender)

Left: Encroachments I (Jinnah) Right: Encroachments III (Defender)

‘Encroachments’, an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience and installation by Shezad Dawood, explores the ‘grey area of ownership’ and associated ideas of sovereignty, private property and the politics of space in Karachi and Lahore. The term ‘encroachments’ refers to the backlash against unauthorised structures that have been built into and onto existing private and state infrastructure and that serve as makeshift commercial and social spaces for the surrounding community.

A central element of the VR experience is the building for the US Embassy in Karachi, which Dawood has spent years researching. Designed by architect Richard Neutra in the 1950s, the building now exists in a state of limbo. It was completed after Pakistan moved its capital to Islamabad and has since required constant upgrades to meet evolving US diplomatic security standards until it was sold by the US State Department in 2014.

‘Encroachments’ features as part of the Sharjah Biennial, which runs until 10th June.

Neelofer Korotana