ISBN9786148035586 (1)

ISBN9786148035586 (1)
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In Plain Sight: Scenes from Aridly Abundant Landscapes

EUR €40


Co-published with National Pavilion UAE, Venice biennale

Edited by: Faysal Tabbarah, Meitha Almazrooei

With contributions by: Rand Abduljabbar, Wesam Alasali, Alia Al Sabi, Dalal Musaed Alsayer, Mohammed Mahmoud Al Naggar, Reem Falaknaz, Omar Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Ahmad Makia, Kevin Mitchell, Ibrahim Nehme, Samar Halloum, Deepak Unnikishnan.

Official publication of the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates' participation at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, this book was conceived as a collection of travels through aridity. Contributors were asked to think about the relationship between travel, travel writing, and the built environment. What coalesced was a diverse set of positions and attitudes towards travel writing that ranged from documenting journeys through historical texts and images in search of lost relationships with aridity and the practices it engenders, to authors who physically traveled to contemporary arid spaces in search of nuance and abundance, and essays that explore the blurry and conceptual edges of aridity.

Alongside the travel-based contributions, the book presents a series of field notes, ostensibly framed as research findings. In the field notes, curator Faysal Tabbarah attempts to narrate the places, materials, and tactics that he encountered on numerous trips. Supporting these field notes is a series of photographic catalogs that depict the range of tactics used in constructing Al Hajar’s built environment that Tabbarah have witnessed in his fieldwork.

Traveling with him and at times separately, Reem Falaknaz narrates her own experiences in Al Hajar Mountains through a series of photographs that are also contained within the publication. On a voyage to center aridity across time, space, and ideas, the book attempts to recast the genre of travel and expedition literature, challenging the ways in which arid environments have historically been depicted through broad generalizations.

While the accompanying exhibition reimagines arid landscapes as spaces of abundance, provoking alternative architectural conditions through a display of existing and imagined building tactics, the textual and visual format of a travel book is an opportunity for a slower and more contemplative form of immersion, challenging perceptual and conceptual assumptions.

Published on the occasion of the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates’ exhibition, Aridly Abundant, at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.


About the Authors

Faysal Tabbarah

Faysal Tabbarah is the Associate Dean and an Associate Professor of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah. He is also Co-founder of Architecture + Other Things, an architecture and design studio based in Sharjah. Tabbarah’s teaching and research interrogate the potential of activating Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) material and environmental practices to drive innovative contemporary design and building solutions by exploring context-driven modes of production, alternative material systems, and the relationship between environmental and architectural imaginaries. At AUS, Tabbarah teaches core and option design studios, seminars integrate issues of Orientalism and the built and natural environments, computational design seminars, and required structures courses.

Meitha Almazrooei

Meitha Al Mazrooei is the editor of WTD Magazine. She completed her M.S. in Critical, Curatorial & Conceptual Practices in Architecture at Columbia University’s GSAPP. She is currently pursuing her PhD in History Theory and Criticism of Architecture at MIT.

Rand Abdul Jabbar

Rand Abdul Jabbar borrows from and reconstructs the ephemera of place, history and memory, employing design, sculpture and installation as primary mediums of operation. Examining and engaging with historic, cultural, and archeological narratives, she interrogates the fragility of tangible heritage to create and compose forms that draw on artifacts, architecture, and mythology. Simultaneously, she explores and contests with individual and collective memory to produce fragmentary reconstructions of historic events and past experiences. Her work has been exhibited at Shubbak Festival (UK), SAVVY Contemporary (Germany), Rabat Biennale (Morocco), Biennale d'Architecture d'Orléans (France), Abu Dhabi Art, Warehouse 421, NYU Abu Dhabi and Jameel Arts Centre (UAE). Abdul Jabbar has participated in residencies with the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (Singapore), Warehouse 421, the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, Tashkeel, and the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation (UAE). She also maintains a writing practice and has contributed texts to Monumental Shadows (Art Jameel), the Kuwait Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Bayn Journal, WTD Magazine and Warehouse 421. Abdul Jabbar received a Master of Architecture from Columbia University in 2014.

Technical Details

Publication Date:
Thursday, May 18, 2023
14.8 x 21 cm
Number of Pages:
Kaph Books

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