The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences is Nadim Choufi’s winning project from Art Jameel Commissions: Digital’s open call in 2020. Set in a space colony on Earth, this new sci-film explores how the future of smart cities relies on the promise of “sustainable” closed systems in the face of health and ecological crises. Two protagonists narrate how the control and exploitation of environmental life cycles and organisms become a blueprint to achieve such futuristic visions.
The 18-minute film can be viewed exclusively online through Art Jameel’s online platform here. For an optimal viewing experience, viewing on a large screen is encouraged.
Recognising the diversity of ideas and exceptional quality of the proposals received, the jury opted to also award honourable mentions to two applicants: Nora Al Badri, a multidisciplinary and conceptual media artist based in Berlin, and Beirut-based duo Edwin Nasr and Bassem Saad.
Launched earlier this year, Art Jameel Commissions: Digital invited artists to submit proposals through an online Open Call which attracted nearly 200 project submissions; the winning work is to be launched and exhibited online for at least six months in early 2021. The commission also provides an opportunity for mentoring by technical experts from MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL). Responding to this year’s theme of ‘Time’, and thinking through how the concept of time has been challenged by technology and circumstance, the commission presented artists with an opportunity to rethink “digital art” and the ways in which it can question, investigate and form meaningful connections and experiences.
The winning proposal was selected by an esteemed, experts which included: Nadim Samman, Curator for the Digital Sphere, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; digital and organic media artist Jenna Sutela; and publisher and Chief Technology Officer at the Serpentine Galleries, London Ben Vickers.
Art Jameel Commissions is an annual, multi-year programme foundational to programming at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai’s contemporary arts institution and a hub for exhibitions, educational and research initiatives. This year’s commissioning programme’s digital focus simultaneously addresses Art Jameel’s long-standing commitment to a diverse, global public and current heightened realities of physical isolation. The next iteration of Art Jameel Commissions will centre on painting and drawing, with the Open Call taking place in 2021.
About the Artists
Nadim Choufi lives in Beirut and primarily works with video, 3D animation, and sculpture. An alumnus of Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace fellowship, he exhibited his work regionally and internationally in Beirut Art Center, Abu Dhabi’s Warehouse421, Sharjah Art Foundation, The New School in New York, and Macao in Milan.
Nora Al-Badri is a multi-disciplinary and conceptual media artist with a German-Iraqi background based in Berlin. Her works are research-based as well as paradisciplinary. She graduated in political sciences at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main and is the first artist-in-residence at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and its Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+).
Edwin Nasr (b. 1994) is a writer and cultural worker based in Beirut. He is currently the Assistant to the Director at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, and will serve as a Curatorial Fellow 2020-21 at De Appel in Amsterdam, where he will be conducting research on decolonial aesthetics and modes of exhibition-making.
Bassem Saad is an artist and writer trained in architecture. His work explores objects and economies that distribute violence, pleasure, welfare and waste, through video, sculpture and writing. He was most recently a resident at Eyebeam in New York.