In modern Gulf cities the rapid development of urban infrastructures instantly transforms the built environment. At night in Doha (Qatar), artificial light and architecture fuse together to produce fresh visual landscapes. In these settings electrical light sculpts new architectural landscapes, reorganises established boundaries and visually erodes soon-to-be forgotten neighbourhoods erased by structural change.
In addition, temporality is an integral structural component: the afterglow of overhanging floodlights merges with fluctuating climatic conditions to shape ocular composition in the urban environment. Overtime construction fences and hoardings are put up and local buildings demolished, reshaping the over-illuminated landscape. In these settings, crumbling buildings become saturated and cloaked by the distinct hue of prominent light sources. And indistinct radiant light energy is generated by active construction sites and residential spaces in surrounding areas.
‘Artificial light’ forms auditory conditions and ocular stimuli to visualise power relations that undoubtedly exist in architectural sites typically occupied by an unsettled expatiate workforce-rebuilding cityscapes. Therefore, visible shadows are utilised as dialectical metaphors. The commanding presence of lengthening shadows typically indicates the concrete reality of the buildings. However, light is undoubtedly temporal: obscuring and stealthily opening up communal space in the modern cityscape. Consequently, tactile collective spaces merge seamlessly with the nocturnal architectural backdrop in the changeable landscape, which often appears structurally uniform, yet, is socially contingent.
“‘Artificial light’ forms auditory conditions and ocular stimuli to visualise power relations that undoubtedly exist in architectural sites typically occupied by an unsettled expatiate workforce-rebuilding cityscapes.”
As such enveloping darkness resolutely closes down space, and illuminated light redefines image composition, instantly opening up possible opportunities to visualise social boundaries. Therefore, spotlighting deliberates decisions to brilliantly illuminate selected architectural sites, and knowingly leaves in considerable shadow other constructions. It is precisely a practical exercise of controlling executive power, as well as the promotion of structural heritage and economic redevelopment.
The porous thresholds and temporal intersections between photography, active modes of listening and performativity are continuous narrative concepts. Artistic experiments expose perceptual landscapes where sound affects vision, and ‘listening’ reveals and transmits unseen audible phenomena (via the human body), to form and disclose new temporal objects – afterimages of spatial experience or atmosphere.
Furthermore, spatial and social distinctions between noise, sound and signal show how these phenomena penetrate architecture, while its inhabitants remain themes under investigation. The published photographs explore the perceptual silences, or peaceful interludes, that typically exist in geographical locations where sensorial and technological processes emerge and subtly transform ocular and auditory landscapes.
“if an expanded city is imagined as archive, the buildings in Doha are not only sites of infrastructural order. They become politically and socially active through deliberate destruction and extensive reconstruction.”
Finally, if an expanded city is imagined as archive, the buildings in Doha are not only sites of infrastructural order. They become politically and socially active through deliberate destruction and extensive reconstruction. An overlay of a unique assemblage of digital signals is produced by a multitude of communal activities and events, in turn created by inhabitants in particular places and opportune moments in local time. These ever-shifting edge conditions, undoubtedly, constitute fertile ground from which the urban imaginary arises from the Anthropocene. In principal spaces where people rest, worship and trade amid these active construction sites: specific locales that appear to be silent, yet, as an ecological reality, never sleep in the sky glow enveloping the biosphere.