Spaces from Syria
DATE: Spring 2016
SCHOOL: Harvard Graduate School of Design; Cambridge, Massachusetts
TEAM: Myrna Ayoub and Ramzi Naja
PROJECT LOCATION: fortyK gallery
PROGRAM: still life installation
Often mistaken for a stand-alone problem, the Syrian refugee crisis is actually a symptom, a direct reaction to a much more lethal condition: the conflict itself. This exhibition recreates a narrative of three spaces within the gallery that bring back the aura of their realities through a still life installation. The heritage space, the conflict space, and the refuge space offer a comprehensive cross section of the situation in Syria, from living conditions before displacement to resettlement across the globe. The exhibition itself merges installation, representation, spatial experience, and storytelling to bring light to a dramatically under addressed urban humanitarian conflict.
By challenging concepts of exhibition and constructing narratives through curated content within an installation, Spaces from Syria places itself within a geopolitical, cross-disciplinary framework and a timely national and/or transnational issue. The exhibition addresses mediums of perception through spatial constructs and personal impressions. On one hand, it questions the expansion and compression of space to tell a narrative, the usage of material, and display techniques. On the other hand, it explores the interpretation of this narrative through personalized perceptions that scale down to specific artifacts displayed within the constructed spaces. The spaces themselves carry a certain weight in the general perception of the installation-- do they define the experience, or do they direct the impact of the objects within them? Similarly, the precise selection of items and references embedded within each space generate an additional layer of perception, and in some cases the possibility to stray and fall into endless intellectualizations and personalization of words, materials, substances, and atmospheres.