djannat AL ARD




U Menya est Metschta - I have a dream








partizipatory artworks

picture gallery



Was realised in April and May, 2011 in Damascus. The original plan for the stint there entailed working together with a group of Syrian artists and the AllArtNow institute, an initiative that supports the contemporary arts. As tensions in the country increased daily, while calls for change were accompanied by increasing violence as a reaction, it become evident that the project was pointless in the situation on site. The 'Djannat al- Ard – The Dust of the City' project was a direct reaction to events. During long walks through the city, I swept dust from the streets as well as the entrances to houses, I swept it out of the cracks, removing the dust from the walls mud-walled houses. I walked approximately 20 kilometres a day all the while gathering what remained of their lives that had been lived there, traces of everyday lives. People in Damascus, in general, reacted to me with curious kindness: some accompanied me for a while, others invited me to join them for a cup of coffee. Some were afraid by the unusual sight I posed, and a few called the police or secret services to report my curious behaviour. After three weeks of gathering, I had around 250 kg of dust in my studio. At the same time, foreigners were being told to leave the country for their personal safety. Over the course of a week, I sifted through all the material gathered. I then covered the floor of my 20sq. metre studio space with a layer of around 1cm of dust. Using glass splitters, bits of plastic, what was left of tiles, bread and other found materials , I spelled out the words DJANNAT AL - ARD - PARADISE ON EARTH using these motley materials.”
'Paradise on Earth' is one of the city of Damascus' sobriquets. This paradise is one where its beauty lay under a layer of dust, both from the past as well as that resulting more recent deterioration.

AISH [Arabic: Bread | Life] 2012

The AISH project consists of a collection of around 100 thoughts and verbal statements about the situation in Syria as well as the lives of its citizens, both at home and further afield. These came together over the course of nearly two months, from September - November 2012, from Syrians who either met me and told me what they thought, or contacted me by E-mail, blog or Facebook. The verbal contributions were used to realise an installation at Forum Schlosspark in Aarau, in whichthese thoughts were written on Arab flat bread which was then installed so that it floated in the space.

Documentation of this project as well as notes in my diary from this journey into the unknown can be downloaded here as a PDF in German version.

Object | Sculpture | Body



Installation | Intervention | Body