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ADS12: Sight/Seeing

Farid Karim

As an architectural designer Farid continues his interest in material fabrication at all scales, with a particular interest in the embodied meaning/memory of the reclaimed/reused. This was celebrated at the 2019 RA Summer Exhibition, with the piece 'Hooverbag Terrazzo '. Farid Also exhibited at the RA the year prior . Being of Syrian heritage, Farid was naturally drawn closer to issues concerning the Middle-East, his final year project investigates the how the displaced domestic memory and traditions of Syrian refugees are hosted by generic Scandinavian environments. Project is dedicated to his grandparents.



MA Architecture Folios

Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS12: Sight/Seeing

Over 100,000 Syrians have been given asylum in Sweden, leaving behind not just their homes, but more importantly what it means to be from Aleppo. My grandad and his friends are proof that culture can survive displacement, even if it is found next to H&M. This project does not resolve anything, it preserves, or at the very least remember.  

Domestic Gaming — Video war games reconstruct convincing and immersive environments of war, so unlike the pre-war family photos of Aleppo, Syrian domesticity would be exposed to western culture just as a mere stage. Domesticity in war, rather than war in domesticity, becoming digitally repurposed, as well as militarily.
Domestic Discussions — The reconstruction of my grandparents’ home was missing a lot of detail. So my grandma was able to (literally) furnish my memories with hers, purely through discussion. The only physical object they have from Syria is this Ivory souvenir. It was below the TV cabinet.

Domestic Reconstructions, Remembering Grandparents Home — The image proves to be a fundamental tool for reconstruction, further unlocking the matrix of memory.

Displaced Domestic Infrastructure — The Al-Madina Souq, old coffee houses and caravanserais of Aleppo all laid the foundations of Aleppean domestic culture, now they are evoked in public spaces all over the world, in this case Stockholm, Sweden.

Dipped Domesticity — Whilst the digitised textures are wrapped around a 3D surface, this model tests how that process can be done in real life in order to see if the translation of 2D images on a physical surface also re-appropriate and distort its memory. This was done using the process of hydro-dipping.

The Specific, The Generic, The Sensory — Each room negotiates between the specific, the generic and the sensory. The specific being the digitised reconstructions of my grandparents’ home, the sensory being the archived materials and textures, and the generic which superimpose the two. All three typologies come together to creating kaleidoscopic junctions of memory that are both digitally rich and physically sensitive.

Domestic Souvenirs — A marketplace of information, objects and traditions helps to create a domestic exhibition of memory and meaning where Aleppean domesticity is both harvested and memorialised.

Remembering Aleppo Whilst Washing Your Hands — Aleppo’s industrious reputation and domestic traditions become superimposed by sensory interactions, educating shoppers about Aleppo’s olive tree soap.

Remembering Aleppo Whilst Resting — Multiple digital translations of domesticity result in moments of curiosity and vague familiarity.

Remembering Aleppo Whilst Shopping — Displaced Aleppean domesticity hosted within the atrium of a Swedish shopping mall.

Remembering Aleppo Whilst Surfing The Web — Looking up a traditional Aleppean pastry recipe in the corridor.

Remembering Aleppo Whilst Meeting — Caravanserai like incisions within the mall atrium provide moments of domestic reference and public intimacy.

For five years Aleppo has been dragged through the epicentre of an ongoing civil war, resulting in both memory being destroyed and destruction being remembered. With unprecedented accessibility to the internet using smartphones, there has been an indiscriminate flurry of data digitally archiving events, objects and spaces of military, historical and personal significance. Generating a sensory taxonomy of textures, aromas and sounds, proving the image to be a fundamental tool for both personal and digital reconstruction. Aleppean domesticity is slowly being remembered. Whilst memory, in both senses of the word, has been displaced by digital translations, for many Aleppean residents, everyday domesticity and traditions have also been subject to geographical displacement. The project follows the domestic relocation of the author's grandparents from the once merchant metropolis of Aleppo to the Scandinavian suburbs of Sweden, specifically to a shopping mall atrium in Stockholm where similar to the coffee houses of Aleppo, a new public domesticity has begun to flourish. This sensitive threshold between the personal and the generic uses the digital as a mediator for reconstruction, not necessarily to resolve but to preserve. Or at the very least. remember.

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