They recall, on the one hand, Manora Island’s past as a colonial outpost for Britain and, on the other, the role of the global south port in a new geopolitical order, marked by the New Silk Road and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The second part of the film shows an artisan cleaning and reassembling a telescope while conversing with the artist. He informs us that the telescope, made with vintage binoculars, is constructed from parts smuggled across the border from Iran at Chaman, through a route that began at the time of the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-89). The formal economies of oil and war meet the informal economies of second-hand markets and bootleggers, which are then set up for local tourists on Manora’s beach. A piece of the past, the telescope makes its way into the present first as relic, then as technology of vision.
Sticky Rice turns a critical eye on archival work itself and tests the limit of such work against globalisation: what does it mean to negotiate locality when the artwork itself is implicated in, and made possible by, the economy of biennials. What does it mean for an artist to mediate a production-consumption chain. How does craft, far from becoming obsolete, mediate between the nostalgia of tourism and the anachronic potential of souvenir objects, between slow and fast technologies.