Traces of Time

How do we look at our own cultural heritage at a time where the west is envied by the new age? We are all free and we all need access to data but what does freedom mean when our own data is lost and forgotten in the wake of this access? When this open access strips us from our cultural heritage and consequently changes our present identity? At a time where submission and cultural assimilation are the canons of globalization, the installation showcases the lost and destroyed the heritage of the Arab world through deconstructing and reducing to a mere flow of shapes the lyrics of the song "Layali Al Ons Fi Vienna", performed by Asmahan in 1944. The song itself embraces the Arab identity while romanticizing and fantasizing about Vienna, the capital of Austria. Walk around the piece and the letters will reappear in context, then distort again, then disappear, then reemerge the way data is constantly evolving, shifting, disappearing and resurfacing. “Traces of time” not only sheds light on the repercussions of westernization and colonialism but also materializes the loss of our present data that is neglected in a predominant western digital era. It challenges two elements of society: a cultural heritage lost either through destruction or through lack of acknowledgment and reduced to a form – an image – present but discarded, in the background of contemporary westernized society; a population that contributes to these acts. This is not a cry against open access but a call to not forget your own Arab identity in the wake of it. The installation itself is 280 x 280 x 300 cm and made of over 1000 traditionally handmade resin letters that showcase the human touch in the materiality of the project and emphasize the idea that cultural heritage is a product of the human.

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