In this interactive work by Sulafa Hijazi, we are presented with 372 versions of Quick Response (QR) codes. Together, they form a decorative mosaic not dissimilar to those seen in traditional embroidery styles of the Levant – in particular, Palestine.
On one hand, this style of traditional embroidery is loaded with political and historical significance: through its ability to preserve cultural memory and heritage, it has become an act of resistance against occupation. On the other, this particular style of embroidery has become one of the most popular local industries and commercial products; both made and designed by hand or manufactured by digitally-programmed machines.
A digital dress, like a traditional dress, is a variable product. Where physical material can wear out over time, so too digital links might be discontinued due to the disappearance of their pages on the Internet, or a change in their content. Women used to spend months weaving one single dress and embroidering it. During that period of time, they chatted and exchanged stories. With the passing of time, these kinds of gatherings started to vanish because of the accelerating rhythm of life, shortage of time and replacing many handicrafts with technical alternatives.
Within Dress, viewers can scan each of the codes with their smart phone. Each code leads to a different link, such as an article, picture, video or artistic experiments and sketches. These feature digital or key words and symbols, or even personal features. Together, these various links create a mental picture that brings together the many different signifiers represented by traditional Levantine embroidery: women’s collective narratives and their social and regional connotations, as well as QR codes as a global visual language with different modern interpretations. It is within this space that Hijazi seeks to examine the intersection of individual and collective, local and international identities.
Atassi Foundation, Personal revolution group exhibition Dubai UAE 2019
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