Performing Lahore With House Ltd.
When we sit down at Mocca for coffee, I talk more about Charcoal + Gravel than Natasha Jozi talks about House Ltd. (House Limited). You can’t blame me, I’m caffeinated. But even through my jabbering, my constant jitters and cold sweats, her performing arts venture strikes a chord in my palpitating heart. It’s generally hard to get through to me, but I feel myself losing control of the meeting in question as she begins to narrate the experiences that her cyclic troupe undergoes. I can’t help but be mesmerized.
Founded in 2017, Jozi’s brainchild, House Limited, is simple yet effective; with 8 participants per workshop, artists and streetwalkers alike join forces to take Lahore on. On her website, she describes House Limited as “an independent initiative that explores the notion of ‘city as a performing organism’ and works towards promoting and generating discourse for performance art in Pakistan.” So when Jozi sends over a 350 MB folder, I can finally generate my own discourse.
Away from the spectrum of traditional spaces designated for art, you can break through orthodox structures, both physically and from an artist’s perspective. House Ltd.’s purpose is to initiate dialogue; to transcend the cage of a human body previously conditioned to behave amicably. The workshop prompts the individual to self-elevate into a tangible, experiential, living, and breathing piece of art.
House Ltd. is inclusive without any expectations to imbibe. Each initiated group shares an unspoken intimacy grounded in trust. They become accomplices; running through the city whilst stripping Lahore of its veil. The process rids the participants of any inhibitions and extricates them from the caution and shame attributed to human bodies.
The project is a collusion between the body and the city.
The two are, in fact, interchangeable. Nuanced amateur performances delivered subtly and convincingly. Performing art is as engaging as it is disruptive. There is an initial disarticulation that serves as a palette cleanser. This prepares the participants for what the next three days hold for them.
Guided by subtle physical cues, participants are encouraged to reclaim city streets. Occupy a space; captivate a gaze. The participants are emotionally and physically consumed in the creation of their art, albeit purged after the initial self-reflection. Residents are taught to be self-aware of the spirit beneath their skin, muscle and bone.