Public Space: Fights and Fictions

TENTATIVE COLLECTIVE

The Tentative Collective’s projects are lived engagements with the sensory and social architectures of the city. Navigating through precarious urban geographies, they create poetic and ephemeral moments in conversation with the city’s infrastructures and comment on the conditions of modernity which they struggle with in everyday life. The Tentative Collective strives to be collaborative, site sensitive, and open to a diverse range of participants.

The rhetoric of the ‘reclamation of public space’ is often accompanied by a liberal assumption of ideal and desired publics. The utopian democratic space must be reviewed carefully to acknowledge that, as a necessary condition, it often excludes carving out a designated space for particular activities. How do gender, class and ethnicity influence the conception and formation of public spaces in South Asian cities? In Karachi the use of the public space discourse excludes the flexible and transforming nature of the street as a gathering space, home as a public and entrepreneurial platform, park or plaza as private space—invisible space, accidental and left over and appropriated space. In cities where infrastructure is always far behind the needs of the people and indeed often encroaching on the lives of the less privileged, the vernacular and informal co-opting of planned spaces for unplanned activities marks a formidable shift in the rhetoric of planned civic life.