For her experimental film Seaview, Zinnia Naqvi travelled back to her family’s country of origin, Karachi, Pakistan, to compare childhood memories with present-day experiences. Seaview combines home video with recent footage, and overlaps text, audio conversations, and testimonials that often contradict the paired imagery in each sequence. In the first sequence, for instance, Naqvi juxtaposes a home movie of her first childhood trip to a Karachi beach with a text describing her visit to the same place seventeen years later. Her narrative imparts the difficulties inherent in revisiting the past, both as an image-maker and as a woman.
Originally inspired by nineteenth-century ethnographic studies of the East by documentary photographers, Naqvi later realized the “Orientalist” implications of these images in their simplification of Eastern culture. Through Seaview, Naqvi questions the ability of any single medium to provide an adequate depiction of a place or culture. She confronts her personal struggle between the ideals of Western and Eastern societies, ultimately confounding any single understanding of Pakistani society. In doing so, she reveals the complications of translating culture across time and seas.