GRADUATION PROJECT: INTERACTIVE/MEDIA/DESIGN @ KABK The Hague, Netherlands. 2018-2019.
As part of my fourth and final year at the Interactive/Media/Design department at The Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, I am documenting the stages of my graduation project. I find it an important step to make my process understandable and shareable. This makes the project more open for discussion and can even (hopefully) attract people who are interested in the same topic to start collaborations or even friendships.
The topic of my thesis and graduation project is looking at the importance of the memory of landscapes when searching for a place to belong by using my personal story as a reference. I am interested in the effects of living on mountains versus flat landscape and between human-made landscape and raw and more natural landforms. Throughout this process I will be analysing concepts of architecture and art, specifically land-art, looking for guidance in anthropology, and experimenting with themes of height and play.
Using my installation Things We Leave Behind as a main source inspiration since it poetically expresses important emotions that are universal yet personal, I hope to create a work that resembles the intimacy, tactility, and depth this installation also embodies.
This public form of documentation helps me put my thoughts into hopefully understandable terms and can help myself give an overview of the process I am personally taking in my work.
I want to thank those who are already helping me in this process and for those will be in the future. To future me, I hope you enjoy this journey!
As a method for my artistic research, I am visiting specific land art or architecturally significant locations that deal with some form of height.
Another method I am using to gain more insights into my topic is by interviewing people specifically who have moved often but also who have lived on mountains.
Benedict is the founder of 2bDesign, a social enterprise in Lebanon. She connects strongly to her grandmother’s home in France, specifically to the smell of raspberry and moss. Benedict spent 30 years there. She said she doesn’t have that feeling anywhere in the world but there. Her kids, who are a similar age to me, have had difficulties feeling connected to Lebanon mainly due to not speaking Arabic, Benedict assumes. They were always seen as French, rather than Lebanese. Benedict and her husband built a beautiful home in Lebanon with hopes to have the family connect more to the country.
HOW DO WE REMEMBER OUR PAST (LOST) LANDSCAPES?
As part of my material research, I will be prototyping for the final physical project.
I used the image of this piece of tree bark and transformed it into a digital 3-D model, looking at what actually makes a landscape. Is this bark a landscape? Is it a city?
From my archive. Taken between 2011 - 2013 in Lebanon. These are all the views I have seen and interacted with throughout my time in Lebanon. Some I interacted with daily and others only once a year, others I have only seen four times in fifteen years. The power of a mountain: the view.
From my archive. Taken in 2013, I took a taxi from the boulevard in Beirut back home to Mansourieh, a village on a hilltop 10 km east of the city.
Prototype of my thesis book cover
Prototype Documentation II
Here are three major prototypes: lasercut landscapes that come from the log piece, simulated taxi ride from the moving image collection, and Soft Data Packages to collect information and emotions from people dealing with migratory grief. For the lasercut landscapes, I was interested in recreating the log and creating more of these smaller landscapes, to be able to keep at home. This aspect was part of research into memorabilia for my thesis.
The simulated taxi ride was very fun and interesting to work on because as soon I put together all the sensory aspects of what I remember from this taxi ride, I was totally transported to that moment. The sensations proved to have a strong effect on my body. This also worked as an interesting interactive experience.
The Soft Data Packages were a way for me to connect to others instead of only focusing on my own sensory memories. I gave a handful of people these packages and received a few back, others have not yet been returned. I found that for a lot of people this was a big effort. All in all, the prototyping phase has been going well.
Trip to Lebanon
For research and personal motive, I chose to go to back to Lebanon for a week in April. This trip was highly inspiring and helped bring my project to the next level.
Concept for Final Project
How do we remember the landscapes we leave behind when we migrate?
We become attached to the landscapes we are a part of in the same way we are attached to people. The loss of landscape through migration therefore can severely impact a person’s wellbeing and identity. Migratory grief, a response to loss, which results in a strong sense of uprootedness and non-belonging, can make it difficult to settle in a new place. How we choose to remember and give space to memories therefore becomes highly valuable and necessary.
As an act of choosing not to forget, Anna Pelgrim has created a designated space for remembering the landscape she left behind. This interactive sculpture takes the physical attributes from her past landscape of Lebanon – its topography, its height, its sounds, its level of risk – and brings it to an approachable, bodily scale.
She invites you to be participants of her embodied memory.
Climb, explore, feel, and listen to this memorial.