All That Perishes at the Edge of Land

This (ship breaking) industry is unpacked as the site of contextual inquiries: into the destruction of marine ecology, exploitative labour practices affecting a migrant labour force, a network of linked industries aggregating wealth, and an imbalance of power tilting in favour of the industrialized North versus the poorer Global South.  

Hira Nabi 

The toxic byproducts of industrial production do not just disappear. Someone, somewhere, very probably with few alternatives, will dismantle and dump them, incurring contamination in the process. Where do ships go to die? All That Perishes at the Edge of Land is set at the ship-breaking yard at Gadani, Pakistan, which used to be one of the largest ship-wrecking sites in the world, where vessels – for the most part not properly cleaned of toxic and hazardous residues they contain – are dismantled by labourers working in extremely dangerous conditions.

Hira Nabi’s docu-fictional film creates a dialogue between the “Ocean Master” – a container vessel that is anthropomorphized and given a voice of its own – and the workers who take the ship apart bit by bit to reintroduce it to the local economy: quality steel and wood, and any other remainders that are sold for very little money.

Hira Nabi is a filmmaker, multimedia artist, and a writer/researcher. Her work looks at repressed memory in urban landscapes, imagined histories and possible futures, movements and migrations, botanical exchanges, infrastructures, and the environment. She has exhibited and screened at Alwan Center for the Arts in New York, Union de Escrituras y Artistas de Cuba, in Havana, The Second Floor, and Vasl Artists Association in Karachi, Twelve Gates Arts Gallery in Philadelphia, Festival de Cine Pobre, Gibara, L’Alternativa Festival, Barcelona, Colomboscope, Colombo, CPH:DOX, DokuFest, and the first Lahore Biennial among others. She earned a BA in video and postcolonial studies from Hampshire College in 2010, and an MA in cinema and media studies from The New School in 2016. Her most recent work is a study of the shipbreaking yard at Gadani, in southwest Pakistan.