On the occasion of Dubai Design Week 2017, Boano Prišmontas has teamed up with Ricardas Blazukas to illustrate the recent history of the Middle East through a floating installation. The Middle East Region has boomed in the last 50 years with an economy based on oil. This growth rate and the incredible wealth has made the unthinkable possible. Cities bloomed from the arid desert and the whole region became an incredible and alluring place, attracting people from all over the world. But this semi-utopian development approached its climax almost 10 years ago. The region had to re-imagine its future and create its own new, enticing identity. This process had to be planned and didn’t happen spontaneously under the leveling action of history, people and time.
Dubai’s time scale is on steroids, and its future had to happen, now. Aside from the obvious business vocation, the new-unknown identity focused on tourism, fun, and wonder. Now, events like Dubai Design Week aim to widen the city’s foundation spectrum and focus on art, design, and architecture as active tools to make the city, a city.
The Middle east region started as an inflated reality, balancing on the verge of becoming a theme park made of a collection of expensive capricious architectures. But now, the present time, it seems able to combine together its cultural, social and political input, creating a new city vision with a strong identity. If the region wants to strengthen and develop its future in the long term, it has to tie itself to a sustainable reality, not limiting its narration to just hyper bombastic urban scenographies.
Aidah is a project that plays with what is described above. The installation is made of 50 black balloons, 500m of black ropes and 50 foam bricks. These elements are combined together generating a floating landscape that belongs to and is in dialogue with the desert, the origin of everything. These flimsy structures evoke a sense of transient fragility and at the same time inform Aidah’s bold and distinctive character.
The floating spheres are the foundational element of the city (ref. Dubai’s oil), but at the same time its Achilles heel. Much like the bubble of wealth created by the finite resource of oil, the city might burst or float away and it needs ballasts to anchor it firmly on the ground. The economic stability of the Middle East is granted by its foreign investments, that are here represented with black foam “London Bricks”, specially crafted for this installation.
By building in the desert, Aidah also aims to question the idea of “land value”. The installation shows that the occupied square meters might have zero “land value” from a real estate point of view, but they generate a fascinating space, adding a qualitative, symbolic and artistic value to the deserted land.
all images courtesy of Boano Prišmontas