Walid Al Wawi explored heavily trafficked and poorly maintained pedestrian tunnels in the city of Sharjah that are used by expatriates and locals alike. The tunnels are not only used as a crossing path, but also as a hub for residential advertisements on a harmless, yet partially illegal level. Many new expats in these neighbourhoods go looking for a new home through the tunnels, and old residents advertise there for roommates under self-imposed conditions, with hopes to locate others of similar interests and qualities, such as religious views, gender and career.
After collecting several of these advertisements, Al Wawi called the telephone numbers advertised and recorded the initial “hello” of the conversation right before ending the call. Al Wawi has made these recording accessible through a clickable button disguised in a graphic element of a familiar brand. When pressing the button, it reveals an anxious encounter between strangers. On the surface, the work explores the attempts of multinational corporations trying to connect people through branding campaigns and expensive commercials, with actual real encounters of people trying to connect in the Gulf.
Walid Al Wawi's Biography: Born in 1988, Walid Al Wawi is a Palestinian-Jordanian artist based between Sharjah and London. In 2011 Walid was awarded The Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award. Walid’s work is part of several collections and was recently acquired by the collection of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Through the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan emerging artist fellowship, he is pursuing his Masters in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins College of Art, London, where he currently lives and studies.
Commissioned by Alserkal Programming
Folio Digital Projects: Lifelike
Folio Digital Projects are a series of web-based artist commissions which live on the Alserkal Avenue website. In its first year, Alserkal Programming will commission several artists to create new works. This concept developed from a desire to work with and support, a new generation of artists who harness the language of social media and the Internet to explore the shifting nature of a post-Internet existence. The concept of the first series of FDP is Lifelike, a theme that opens up discussion on the Internet’s effects on our lives, our sense of reality, and the shift in the perception of images.
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