The City as a Factory for Oil Production

Mehr Liaqat



This project puts forward a new reading of Abu Dhabi, UAE - as a factory for oil production, with labour as infrastructure. It challenges the narrative that the city's shiny, pristine built environment emerged from oil wealth, but rather, that the city was designed to sustain oil production from inception, by arguing that factories of oil production are not independent from the labour, infrastructures and environments that support them. The project serves a group of male, oil production workers from the Keralan Gulf Diaspora, known as Pravasis, who are kept separated from essential ser-vices, communities and cultural life as a result of the city's monopoly over oil. The project invites action through their testimonies, and in response, propos-es a network of informal, flexible, community-led spaces of care and support, organized by Pravasis, for Pravasis. These new networks nurture ways that Pravasis can start creating their own city, and in doing so, undo their dehuman-ization through reviving layers of their subjectivity, and ultimately challenge the politics that ostracizes them from the rest of the city.

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