Dubai, Inc., 2008-2009
The collaborators propose a multi-media sculptural installation and book project as a meditation on the tension between the competing forces of global capitalism/consumerism vs. the American political narrative of the demonizing of Islam. This clash of systems and narratives is exemplified by Dubai City in the United Arab Emirates, a city-state that is building the world’s tallest skyscraper, the largest shopping mall, the most luxurious hotel, the largest man-made marina and the biggest artificial island in a fantasia of the world’s most futuristic architecture. The collaborative will organize on-campus programs including an exhibition at a suitable location such as the Weisman Art Museum, open studios with the artist, and guest speakers. The work will not employ overt polemicism, instead presenting a open cultural commentary designed to raise questions among viewers rather than provide direct commentary—celebrating the excesses of Dubai while simultaneously critiquing them. Multiculturalism emphasizes a multiplicity of perspectives. The core of this artistic undertaking emphasizes many voices rather than the singular voice of didacticism.
How can the visual arts be used to raise critical questions about identity, economics, and sustainability with respect to the rapid growth of this global mega-city? How can art help communities to understand the benefits and consequences of rapid growth?
Convener: Andréa Stanislav (Art, CLA).