12 rooms in Artist and Society
Bani Abidi’s Reserved 2006 is a two-screen video installation that shows an unnamed city preparing for the arrival of a VIP
Shot in the style of a documentary, Reserved explores the absurdity of official routine and the everyday working of social privilege and hierarchy. The title refers to the signs that are often placed on chairs in the front rows of formal events. However, Abidi mainly focuses on those excluded from these ‘reserved’ spaces.
The right-hand screen shows a black car with a police escort as it progresses through the city. On the left we see different groups affected by the interrupted traffic. Drivers and motorcyclists are held back by police. Uniformed school children linger on the street.A small group of anxious officials wait for the impending arrival.
Reserved portrays the experience of waiting, and the boredom and sense of uselessness that it causes. While events like these take place in cities across the world, Abidi draws upon her own memories of growing up in Karachi, Pakistan. She recalls continually having to wait for a mayor, governor or some other dignitary to arrive.
Curated by Devika Singh