CAST IN INDIA
Natasha Raheja | USA, India 2014 | 26 Min.| OmeU
Man. Hole. The twain are not to meet. But together they come. Is there a man behind the manhole cover? Iconic and ubiquitous, approximately 300,000 manhole covers dot the streets of New York City. This 26 minute observational documentary tracks the curious circuit of manhole cover manufacturing and introduces us to the working lives of the men behind the manhole covers in New York City. Manufactured in India, these 200 pound covers are the congealed efforts of thousands of highly skilled metal workers. Enlivening the objects around us, Cast in India will take you on a journey across oceans from New York City to a foundry in Howrah, India, where workers heat, weld, melt, and mold iron into manhole cover castings that circulate in a demanding global market. While learning the labor process, viewers will inhabit the space of the foundry where they will experience the sensory dimensions of daily working life. This work aims to engage the tension between the irreplaceability of people and the replaceability of their labor, while pointing to the disparate conditions that shape the geographies of production of everyday urban infrastructures.