Tasmeem Doha 2022: Gulf Metaverse 2.0
An evening hosted by VCUarts Dean Carmenita Higginbotham, Ph.D., and VCUarts Qatar Dean Amir Berbić, Ph.D., in celebration of Qatar Week 2022. The program features Gulf Metaverse 2.0 video screenings, curated by Róisín Tapponi, followed by a viewing of the “Relearning Imagination” installation by Arshia Sobhan.
About the presentations
Gulf Metaverse 2.0
“The Green Light” (2021)
This video focuses on the ways in which information circulates and, at the same time, involves the subjects of a society. Through a complex dynamic of lights that turn on at the same time as the intermittence of the voices of a men’s choir singing an Arabic pop song, the artist proposes a letter that is repeated over and over again: “No, no, don’t leave us, we were always with you / No, no, don’t leave us, even if we weren’t with you.”
“A DIY of a Dream 101”
The artist recalls personal experiences that occurred at the Egyptian embassy at Counter #6, the division that handles Palestinian refugees who carry Egyptian travel documents. The artist sets a mood of dream and hope played in irony, portraying the endless dilemma of those who struggle with identity and citizenship.
In this silent drama, we explore phases of Tayseer’s daily life on the roof of his building and his relationship to the architecture of his home. Tayseer keeps dragging his chair around the roof until he decides where to settle. “Tayseer” is a film that meanders between time and space, between stability and precariousness; an attempt to retain dignity and grace through moments of futility and feelings of worthlessness.
Almatrooshi carries out an investigation of the daily activities in local Sharah dessert spots. By centering desserts in the work, she problematizes sweeteners as a guise for other flavors. Sugar has historical connotations associated with enslaved labor, colonial enterprise and class signifiers, as well as a reputation as a demonized health hazard and a source of “sinful” temptation and indulgence. Against a meditative drone and ominous sounds, weaving and colliding between text of fantasy fiction and real imagery of dessert preparation, “Glaze” allows us to meditate on the hands of brown men that churn out the delights we consume on a daily basis.
Music by Ronald Boersen
Sobhan is an interdisciplinary researcher and artist based in Vancouver, Canada. He is driven by curiosity and has a love for science, which led him to earn a B.Sc. in physics. After more than 15 years working in a range of fields, including digital creative direction, graphic design, commercial photography and UI/UX design, he continued his interdisciplinary journey and earned a Master of Design in Digital Futures degree from OCAD University, during which he explored the potentials of using generative adversarial networks in Islamic calligraphy. Sobhan is currently collaborating with the Metacreation Lab for Creative AI at the School of Interactive Arts and Technologies at Simon Fraser University, where he explores the potentials of using various AI-based generative models for the Arabic script with a focus on the artistic aspects in order to reimagine the ways of digital creation in this domain.