In Plain Sight: Scenes from Aridly Abundant Landscapes
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.
- Publication Date:
- Thursday, May 18, 2023
- 14.8 x 21 cm
- Number of Pages:
- Kaph Books