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Death With Friends is a single screen video inspired by the diary of Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire (1526-1856) in India.  The Baburnama, written between 1504-1529 represents the first known instance of autobiography in Islamic literature. Everything surrounding the diary remains unknown, such as Babur's motivation for writing an autobiography (a genre unknown at the time), why he chose to write in a vernacular Turkish dialect instead of courtly Persian (unheard of at the time), who the intended audience was, if any, and whether the diary now stands as a literary or historical text.

Journeying through what is now modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan and North India, Babur writes about his conquest of the region along with general observations on the everyday life of the inhabitants. In doing so he presents a portrait of a place that complicates contemporary understandings (and self understandings) of the region and its people.

The film was shot in a film studio in Mumbai. The set design, conceived with attention to geometric motifs common in South Asian visual culture, is combined with carefully choreographed camera movements, creating a dynamic interplay between architectural and psychic space. A voice over, reading excerpts from The Baburnama, accompanies the filmed scenes.


image: Death With Friends (video still)

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