Bahar Behbahani

I Can Drink Stars, 2019 – 2020
Mixed media installation on the grounds of Irrigation Department of Punjab, 49 x 60 ft

I Can Drink Stars is a sculptural intervention located on the ruined miniature model of water management of the Ravi River, which is itself situated on the grounds of Punjab Government’s Water Irrigation Department in Lahore. The installation examines the shared history of contested rivers and the entanglement of coloniality with cartography, extractive economies, and geological surveys. The focal point of the installation is an octagonal pool. The octagon as a stable geometric form, one that the ancient Persians believed kept water pure, and project symmetry and balance in the spiritual habitat of Persian gardens. Behbahani chose to split the pool in half, which evokes uncertainty and division, and examines the possibility of undoing. Mounted on plastic barrels, the pool suggests a floating vessel to be used in the event of an emergency due to flooding. Reimagining the fragments of cultural heritage and contemporary everyday life, the pool’s interior is surfaced with patching variety of tiles sourced from local construction projects. I Can Drink Stars encompasses the philosophical, the geopolitical, social and the ecological. It weaves these associations together and raises questions for the future of creative resistance and environmental justice.

Co-Commissioned by Servis Shoes and Lahore Biennale Foundation