Office for Applied Histories
69b, Road 1501, Suq al-Qaisariya
Muharraq, BH
08.12.20 — 30.12.20

The display is open Friday to Wednesday, 9am-7pm and on Thursdays, 9am-8pm

The open studio is structured around two internal site visits, and three documentation sessions, during which the contents of the display will change

Session I: 08.12.20, 5-7pm
Session II:  18.12.20, 5-7pm
Session III: 24.12.20, 5-7pm 

Abdulla Janahi, Laila Al Shaikh – Applied Histories
Sara Ali – Researcher, Applied Histories
Wala’a Halwachi – photographer
Imogen Piper – graphics

On-Grid Architectures is an ongoing investigation into recurrent fire and structural collapse incidents in historic buildings-cum-labour camps, with a proposition that encapsulated within are the broader politics of Bahrain’s contemporary and specific spatial organization of labour. These kinetic events are approached as a retroactive opportunity for inquiry into a set of preceding and succeeding temporalities – as well as an expanded force field of perpetration – that hinge on the moment of ignition, otherwise of a transient perceptibility, so they may be rendered intelligible. The open studio simultaneously presents the progress of the remote, open-source investigation, and defines a window of intensified fieldwork around the retrieval, reassembly, classification and documentation of artefacts for further study.

Here, the timeline visualizes two interrelated databases as they currently stand, an ongoing process that involves systematically data-mining daily issues of Al-Ayam published from 2013 to the present. Within the primary database, each article archived is coded, and a tagging system is embedded to filter articles by relevant incident or ‘governing’ entity. On a secondary database, relevant incidents are coded and geolocated, and logged on are details on the incident and site, state and civil society responses, as well as any resulting adjudications.

Within the studio, and amongst remnants sourced from geolocated sites, component parts of a dissembled LPG cylinder, each governed by international, regional and national standards are individually documented and archived. The exercise is preparatory but crucial in adopting the cylinder, a recurring element within a pattern of events, as a conceptual and evidentiary tool. A quasi-autonomous object, it facilitates: the understanding of the camp as an extension of its volumetric space; and a possible counter-mapping of the labour market that underpins said incidental manifestations, by offering an entry point into labour practices that intersect logistical and infrastructural apparatuses of extraction, refining, design, production, distribution, installation, degradation, maintenance and waste.



69B, Road 1501. Suq al-Qaisariya. Muharraq