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(Dis)Oriented Identities in The Representation of Historic Jeddah

The old town of Jeddah’s, a port city located on the west side of Saudi Arabia by the Red Sea, was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO under the name “Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah” in so 2014. (Dis)Oriented Identities addresses the emerging and conflicting issues of conservation and identity representation. This project is a commentary on the way that annual heritage festivals profess to represent the culture of a place to its residents and visitors, freezing them unto unidimensional and essentialist identity that disregards the multiple layers of realties that compose place and locality.

(Dis)Oriented Identities is a mixed media project; it consists of 5 short video segments, three installations of the urban fabric of the historic town, and a panorama of the interior of the old town. The art project is accompanied by a forthcoming digital book. 

This project was a thesis completed in partial fulfillment for my Masters in Design Studies – Critical Conservation at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University (2017)   

The videos each show different “realities” being embedded into the city. The models are an abstract embodiment of the physical distortion and disruption to the built environment through the different master planners who have studied the old town beginning with the first master plan in the 1980s, culminating in the present UNESCO nominated area. The panorama visually expresses the disorientation of identities in the old town, showing how the inhabitants are being overshadowed, and how their “reality” is being erased by the annual festivals resulting in fragmented realities and disoriented identities. Finally, the digital book which narrates the development of Jeddah from the 11th to the 19th century, and focuses on the 20th century and the oil boom. Furthermore, the text will cover the theories manifested in the Art Project.




Thesis Presentation Design

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