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Look closely at the manhole covers littering New York’s streets and sidewalks. Read between the lines of the delightful array of patterns and you might learn their place of origin — for some, that’s as far away as India. Join us on Saturday at 7:30pm in Williamsburg at documentary art center UnionDocs for Natasha Raheja’s short film Cast in India (2014, 26 min.). We’ll travel to a factory in Howrah, just across the Hooghly River from India’s major port city of Kolkata (Calcutta), to witness the working lives of the men who produce those ubiquitous and iconic objects of the city.
The night of screenings, co-presented by UnionDocs and Urban Omnibus, will start off with another film dealing with questions of labor in the context of citymaking. Maxim Pozdorovkin and Joe Bender’s Capital: A City Symphony (2010, 72 min.) looks to Astana, Kazakhstan — one of the world’s youngest capital cities — on its tenth anniversary in 2008. Monumental architecture and a state-run public relations machine touts Astana as a utopian city of the future; migrants arrive to build their nation’s new experiment as longtime residents watch their dusty Soviet village turn into a “pearl of the steppe.” But “as fear over the global financial climate spreads, leaving construction sites empty and the future of Kazakhstan’s dream city uncertain, the residents find themselves caught between the official vision of Astana and the realities of life on utopia’s outskirts.”
Following the screenings, Director of SITU Research Brad Samuels will sit down with filmmakers Maxim Pozdorovkin, Joe Bender, and Natasha Raheja to discuss labor, infrastructure, and what makes a city today.
Visit UnionDocs’ website to purchase tickets and read more about the films and filmmakers.
UnionDocs Screenings | Capital: A City Symphony + Cast in India
Followed by a discussion with filmmakers Maxim Pozdorovkin, Joe Bender, and Natasha Raheja moderated by Director of SITU Research Brad Samuels
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art
322 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tickets are $9; advance purchase available on UnionDocs’ website
The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.