David Chalmers Alesworth

Febuary-March, Cantt. Lahore, Ganche, Baltistan


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Carrots in the washing basket, 13 March 2010
I’ve been thinking about inserting carrots into this plastic washing basket since i got it about two years ago.It seems made for them. Though I hadn’t counted on its flexibility nor their weight. Then there’s the lack of symmetry in an average Pakistani carrot. These black carrots are amazing, they seem another whole species from their bland orange cousins. The bigger picture is a putting together of the product of industry and the produce of nature. Both are interventions of a sort, neither are “natural”. This goes beyond my anthology of plastics.
Black and red carrots, 13 March 2010

Black Carrot juice, 26th March 2010, Lahore


 Carrots in the clothes basket, 13th March 2010



 Mixed carrots and plastic


 Black carrots and orange plastic, 13th March 2010


The shoot


set-up with  Nikon D3


Dyed eggs for Naurose,

Appo Jaffar, at Khaplu Palace, Baltistan 23rd March 2010


Khaplu village from above, 23rd March 2010


Khaplu high plateau in search of lawn-grass, 23rd March 2010


Panorama with Huna, Khaplu 23rd March 2010


Black Peppercorn Haier top-loader, detergent free twin tub, 14th March 2010


R.A. Bazaar Bombings, Friday 12th March 2010


Body parts, mobile phone advert, R.A. bazaar Bombings, Friday 12th March 2010


Washing down R.A. Bazaar, bombings, 12th March 2010


R.A. Bazaar bombings, 12th March 2010
Just outside Skardu by road, 23rd March 2010


Cabbage White’s eating all my Ruccola, 26th March 2010

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“Desi Unday” Bilal Gunj


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I went back to “Bilal Gunj” Lahore’s massive used car part market for a second sound sampling, a few days ago. This time with Huma’s 4 channel Zoom recorder.

In over an hour of walking the lanes I got reasonably varied ambient sound from the breakers, welders, paint-sprayers and a great many gas and kerosene burners heating food and tea. On this trip I realized there was a tremendous culture of food going on here.

Fish, tea, sweet-potatoes, chena, monpelli, carrot juice, egg-fried rice, subzi and dal, roti’s of every description and finally hot, boiled desi-unday. I’d almost given up on the eggs. I kept asking where the sellers were, because it was their presence selling these beautiful subtle-hued, small precious des-unday (local-eggs/free-range eggs) in the context of these ancient and smashed oily wrecks of cars and trucks that had given rise to the egg and engine photographs.

Suddenly they were there running through the lanes, two sellers I’d never seen before. They both carried padded bags to keep the boiled eggs warm, their cry was garam-desi-unday and I realized this would give a somewhat different spin on the photographs. They’d be read as engine heated eggs, not what I’d intended.

I’d intended the teeming living eggs as nature amongst the toxic waste of the man-made, the guts of the engines.

I produced a 12 minute mixed edit of the garam-unday criers and the ambient sounds on my stroll through the richly varied soundscape in the lanes of this market. Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh‘s shrine minarets can be heard throughout the work, a constant accompaniment at Bilal Gunj. This shrine to the patron saint of Lahore, lies right in front of the car market.

“966th URS Shareef is on 3 Feb 2010 Inshallah”
966 Urs Mubarak Of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hajveri Will Held On 19 Safar al Muzaffar And 4 February 2010 (Approx) At Data Darbar , Near Bhatti Gate, Lahore. Pakistan
Days Remaining In URS Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh

His birthday is being celebrated today which a holiday in most of Punjab.

(….haven’t been able to upload this clip as yet)

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Art for “The Post-Colonial Garden as a Palimpsest”


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Let me begin by saying that I love hand-knotted rugs, of all sorts and I do own a few.
These are not mine, well maybe a few are by now and some are with my friends. It was a day of viewing rugs, mostly Chobi’s (Zeigglers) here.

We’re moving house much is being discarded, here’s an old rug I almost threw away today.


…and part of another


Some details of the finer piece.


These are around 10 x 12 ft, very old, badly damaged hand-knotted rugs that I acquired in Karachi almost ten years ago. I had intended them to be used in work for many years after I gave up on them, as floor coverings.


The blue Persian is a much finer piece but totally threadbare, worn right down to the structural weft and weave of its base, from a distance it’s almost monochrome. They are both also full of dust despite several previous washings. The motifs are of course all plant and garden based. These rugs would seem a viable visual metaphor a cultural reading of “the garden”. Here it is played out as as paradise itself. A contained garden of fountains, bird song, fruit bearing trees within in an ordered orchard. An oasis of sorts.


I decided to cut out the still intact central portion today, and have kept the borders to experiment on as well. I’m intending to somehow work into and onto these rugs. At present it seems to me that the only authentic way to do that is to actually stitch another layer right into their very fabric, perhaps this should read from both sides as in fact this threadbare one does. Now there is no hierarchy of front or back, its much the same.


I will have to have to stitch the edges to prevent this one disintegrating. It felt sacrilegious to be cutting into this once magnificent rug but if I can use it in my work it will have another lease of life.


I’m thinking of stitching the ground plan for “Lawrence Gardens” a Lahori British Raj park, now Bagh-e-Jinnah or perhaps even the plan of parts of the “Palace of Versailles”, gardens, the parterre’s in particular. Right now I’m thinking of a gold thread for visibility but I’ll have to try things out.

They’ll need to be stabilized, stretched on frames, washed and dried, none as simple as it sounds.. Then I’ll have to find out what the issues of working in to the surface of these rugs is.
I think I’ll begin with some photoshoped treatments as mock-ups.

The rug represents a pre-colonized traditional cultural thread (forgive the pun) or does it? Their history in this region is not so pure or simple.


William Glover’s new book “Making Lahore Modern” Constructing and imagining a colonial City, just arrived. Its only been a week or so since I ordered though Amazon’s express delivery cost me as much as the book itself!


“Flying Carpet”

A work by Berlin based Alex Fleming shown at Art Dubai a few years ago. I instantly recognized it as a work I should have, could have made! (don’t you hate it when that happens?) We became friends and I sent him an Afghani War rug subsequently.

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Mochi Gate, Old City, Lahore 29th November 2009


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Over Bakra Eid in Lahore, November 2009, near Mochi Gate, Walled City.


Skinning a sheep, near Mochi Gate
(also see movie clip)




Wiring and speakers


BA English


Nan Katai shop


Nan Katai’s


Carolyn Guertin


Bazaar life




Cleaning Goats Heads


Goats Heads


Processing goat parts


also see the movie clip


Dry Fruit Stall




Carolyn Guertin


Brain Computers


Brain Computers


Beautiful animals for Eid




Skins on a bike


Skins at the roadside

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Studio check-in 1st Nov. 2009.


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Some current thoughts and initiatives.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


Walking the ganda-nala’s of Lahore<o:p></o:p>

I have approached a potential collaborator for this venture and we are in the process of discussing it. The open storm drains in this massive city of 7+ million (1998 census figures) provide the only channeling of sewage from homes to its ultimate discharge in the now dead river Ravi. There are no treatments plants. However the ganda-nala’s also create ecological corridors through the city where plant and animal life is left fairly undisturbed. The current heightened tension in the city is making any walking venture deeply problematic, let alone undertaking a walk through a highly suspicious no-mans land. I hope to undertake an initial walk (and documentation) within a few weeks. <o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


The People’s Art Historical Garden Centre Project<o:p></o:p>

Completed 25th October 2009 in collaboration with Adnan Madani. We have collaborated on several projects previously, notably “The Frankfurt School” video which is also covered in previous blog entries. See the newly added page of documentation and narrated video. Akbar Naqvi’s book “Image and Identity” (Oxford, 1997) is systematically dismantled and converted into useful paper bags. It is unbound and liberated from it’s burden of assumed authority. A reclamation, a reinterpretation and dissemination. Even an insemination (seeds are added to each art-historical bag). Like seeds themselves it is finally disseminated to the public of Lahore. <o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


Eden project<o:p></o:p>

I have yet to locate specialist input for this project and I now see it as being a much longer term initiative. I hope at least part of it may be realized by next summer’s residency.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


Berlin Collaboration 2009-2010<o:p></o:p>

I have sent out initial emails towards this collaboration. It is intended that a dual project be negotiated that comes to fusion and fruition in Berlin next summer. Something that involves horticultural practices in the cities of Lahore and Berlin.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


Readings, recent and in progress, 1st Nov. 2009<o:p></o:p>

Tim Richardson. Vista, The Culture and Politics of Gardens.<o:p></o:p>

K. Helphand. Defiant Gardens.<o:p></o:p>

Khan. The Gardener.<o:p></o:p>

Ian Sinclair. Hackney that Rose-Red Empire.<o:p></o:p>

Reza Aslan. How to Win a Cosmic War.<o:p></o:p>

Charles Darwin. The Formation of Vegetable Mould.<o:p></o:p>

Foucault. Several Readers and The Order of Things.<o:p></o:p>

Isenberg. The Nature of Cities.<o:p></o:p>

Belting. Garden of Earthly Delights.<o:p></o:p>

Jellicoe. The Landscape of Man.<o:p></o:p>

Coverley. Psychogeography.<o:p></o:p>

Reynolds. On Guerrilla Gardening.<o:p></o:p>

Allen. Kipling Sahib.<o:p></o:p>

Solnit. As Eve Said to the Serpent.<o:p></o:p>

Driver. Nash. Landing.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>



I will be contacting Kenneth Helphand for my research on the ”Post-Colonial Garden”. This is currently under negotiation with my mentor concerning it’s whole approach to the subject.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

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A collaborative project with Adnan Madani, in Karachi. We also collaborated last year on the video work, “The Frankfurt School”. Here we again made use of the skills of Mahmood the book-binder.

This is the most recent completed project. Participating in the current group exhibition (curated by Mehreen Murtaza and Umer Butt) at Greynoise Gallery, Lahore.
In the show entitled “Patrons of Oh! My God i can buy Art!” opens 25th October 2009.

Our work is entitled:
<meta name=”Title” content=””> <meta name=”Keywords” content=””> <meta equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″> <meta name=”ProgId” content=”Word.Document”> <meta name=”Generator” content=”Microsoft Word 2008″> <meta name=”Originator” content=”Microsoft Word 2008″> <link style=”font-weight: bold;” rel=”File-List” href=”file://localhost/Users/davidalesworth/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/msoclip/0/clip_filelist.xml”> <style> </style> “People’s Art Historical Garden Centre”
A project of P.A.H.P.
(People’s Art and Historical Project)

David Chalmers Alesworth and Adnan Madani

Variations: 1/12
Recycled paper and live seeds.
October 2009

PAHP: Tomorrow’s History, Today.

“The P.A.H.G.C. aims to create a new and green space for supra-critical reappraisal of the use-value of art history (as written from the point of view of colonial and post-colonial
govern-mentality), by converting the plastic objects of art history into objects of everyday fetish use for the subjects of history. The dissemination of alter-knowledge and the insemination of alter-culture are the short, medium and long term goals of this project, which conforms closely to the will of the people while correspondingly attempting to shape the contours of that will and its future forms.”

David Alesworth
Adnan Madani
Oct. 2009

Video documentation and context for “P.A.H.G.C.P”


Mahmood with a collection of raw material.
Oxford University Press’s “Image and Identity” by Akbar Naquvi.
In this book he describes my practice in the mid 1990’s as being more orientated towards
horticulture than art making.


Iqbal Geoffrey to whom this work is in part homage.


Mahmood at work with editioned works behind him.


In the gallery prior to the opening.


The rosta of participating artists in this group show.



Gallery goers and Mahmood at work producing useful paper bags from this troubled text.
Gallery visitors were encourgaded to take away free art-historical bags containing live vegetable seeds.


The work place, finished bags to the right.


The seeds in the foreground are added to each bag.
They are egg plant, melons, cabbage and chillies.


The twelve editioned works, each bag contains some live seeds,
the local seed packets are inserted into each art-historical bag.
Each bag/seed packet combination is mounted on a facsimile herbarium sheet
and framed with acid free archival materials.


This is the hebarium mount for each of the editioned works.

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Readings readings readings….(Context only)


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Will I will never read fast enough?
How will I ever retain all I need to?

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Lahore City (Context) September 2009


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“Main Boulevard September 2009”
Sony HD Handycam





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“Dream Flowers” (Context images)


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Urban Trees-ongoing (Work)


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I’ve been thinking about a work entitled “The Beautiful Painted trees of Pakistan”
It might be in the form of an English explorer’s portfolio of water-coloured botanical illustrations, maybe in miniature on wasli. Perhaps a combination of text, printed image and hand-work.


However the urban tree here faces many more challenges besides paint.




Tree that don’t sleep.
Constant light will eventually kill any plant.

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