A Baori home &copy; Caleb Johnston</p>

A Baori home © Caleb Johnston

Baori Samaj

I’ve documented the efforts of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to evict a community of Baoris out of the inner city, and have traced their resettlement out along the ever-shifting urban-rural frontier. Baoris’ displacement is situated within the accelerated clearance and demolition of unauthorized settlements in the city.

I’m not simply interested in the technologies of discipline and rule, but equally, in the ways that urban populations expand the political by reconfiguring the terrain of democratic politics. And in many respects, I began this research with Baoris with an express interest in sites of insurgent citizenship, of protest, but what I encountered in Baori Samaj were much more quotidian forms of adivasi resistance, and so, my work has been invested in documenting a range of everyday strategies, from tapping electricity to occupying public and private lands, to paying bribes for civic services and to navigate the rules and regulations that govern the use and access of public territory.

This is part of accessing the ways in the which the urban poor—many of whom live and work in a range of extra-legal conditions—attempt to negotiate their entitlements, territories and economies with the local agents of the state and private capital outside of and across the structures of formal, lawful governance.

In 2009, myself and David Henderson-Hean (a filmmaker from Vancouver), spent several months making video with residents in Baori Samaj. This was a collaboration, community-based production program in which residents scripted, filmed, edited, and screened several short video works. They choose to document and tell the story of their displacement from the inner city.