Accepted Paper:

NIUN: Designing a Saudi future  
Michael Mogensen (Goldsmiths, University of London)Ahaad Alamoudi (Dar Al Hekma University)

Paper short abstract:

NIUN is a collaboration between designer Michael Mogensen and artist Ahaad Alamoudi. It is inspired by the 13th C. writings of Arab Persian explorer Zakariya al-Qazwini. NIUN is a film, an installation and a series of talks in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, proposing an alternative Saudi future.

Paper long abstract:

Saudi artist Ahaad Alamoudi and US designer Michael Mogensen have created a NIUN future. They are are the first residents of NIUN, a future home created in the desert outside Jeddah that responds to a call from the state to join "humanity's next chapter." . They believe that they are laying the cornerstone of a new civilisation. They go into the desert as an act of faith in the future and their place in it. They inhabit RD ("ardi" in Arabic is my land) a black rock that they believe is an asteroid. She is an energy source who grants them access to the seven heavens and to layers in time of cosmology. They are never entirely sure which is which, one layer overlapping with the other.

NIUN is speculative, a short film, an installation, and also a series of talks where we discuss NIUN and how it responds to the future in Saudi Arabia. It is the precursor to a larger work. NIUN is a speculative work albeit in a loose sense, it is not clear if this is the utopian fantasy. RD could be a talking rock, or the desert hallucinations of both. NIUN explores ideas of the future and utopia in the context of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and engages with current projects or plans such as Neom, a mini-state proposed in Saudi Arabia. The film was shot in December 2017, and the work will be shown at 21,39 Jeddah Art Week in February 2018.

Panel P043
Performance, design and aesthetics