A city is a combination of stories and narratives, some personal, others shared or imagined. As cities in the Arab world continue to grow exponentially, there is a growing interest in understanding the dynamics that are shaping its growth. Through mapping, drawing, imagining and researching, these projects presented at the Hangar Exhibition 2019 give us new perspectives into the cities of Amman, Cairo, and Kuwait City. And through video and audio, we gain a more immersive experience into them.
Nadine Zaza and Sama El Saket, two Jordanian architectural designers working between Boston, NYC, and Amman, present ‘Amman ya Amman’, a series of comic-styled digital and analog drawings, based on a narrative of five characters living in Amman. The project explores the collective and complex lives of these people and their imaginations of it for the future.
Amman ya Amman by Nadine Zaza and Sama El Saket
Moving to the city of Cairo, Egyptian graphic designer Farida Khaled presents her banana-mapping project ‘Bananatopia’. The initial idea of Bananatopia is to map the city of Cairo through the lens of segregation and social differences. An item of everyday use, the banana, was chosen as a medium to map this issue by surveying its different varieties and prices in Cairo’s main neighborhoods. This change in price and type reveals the huge differences between the districts in Cairo.
Bananatopia by Farida Khaled
Founder of Square One Collaborative Lab, Nawar N. Al-Kazemi, creates an installation that addresses cultural identity based on her ongoing research. With the rise of consumerism worldwide, particularly in Kuwait where the research is based, the project seeks to question how cultural identity is viewed as a commodity and a brand, that lacks a deeper understanding of what it means to be “Kuwaiti?" The project outcome was a result of interviews with people who have ties with Kuwait, asking them to share personal experiences that define their cultural identity through visuals, colors, and other graphic elements.
Video-artists, filmmakers, producers and publishers, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine present their series ‘Homo Urbanus’, a long-term research project developed until now in seven different cities: Seoul, Bogota, Naples, Saint Petersburg, Rabat, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Presented in a comparative dynamic through the lens of a selection of themes and issues linked with daily street life, the videos enable us to perceive each of these different urban contexts as an experimental, local and unique laboratory, answering the same global challenge of how we can all live together.
This project was made with the support of the Agora Biennale - Mairie de Bordeaux. The Japanese step of this project has been developed thanks to an artist residency at Villa Kujoyama, with the support of the Institut Français and Fondation Bettencourt Schueller.
Zina Hammad, a Jordanian visual designer is displaying ‘Calm and Chaos’ - an intimate interactive installation that explores a new form of storytelling. Inspired by the story of Khaled, a refugee in Germany, the installation is centered around his pillow and the memories it triggered. Visitors are invited to rest their heads on pillows, and listen to a very personal yet extremely exposed re-reading of Khaled's past, and tap into the unfamiliar - into someone else's intimate space and thoughts.
Calm and Chaos by Zina Hammad