The Black Market Archive: The Circulation of Pirated Pakistani Films as Archive and Infrastructure
Following a material turn in the anthropology of film my project will focus on the living archive as practice and discourse network. As this trajectory is contingent on the migration of film content across platforms and storage media, my research is similarly bound up with the social life and contemporary legacy of Pakistani film history, as well as a wider interest in the generative capabilities of analogue and digital modes of distribution and circulation. In the absence of any kind of film archive in Pakistan the active cinephilia that sustains this living archive is juxtaposed by a climate of cinephobia that itself limits and defines the circulation of films.
My research also looks to both the material infrastructure for film performance and the conditions of its circulation. Reflective of the ongoing struggle for cinema to emerge as mass culture in Pakistan, is the way in which the degraded image has come to reflect the extent to which urban infrastructure in Pakistan is vulnerable to breakdown, as well as the hacks and workarounds to which this gives rise.