©2015 bricklab. all rights reserved. Video Credit: Zahra Dar

The Need For A New Monument

Essay & Graphics

Graphic:

Exhibited at the 'Wujood' Pop-up Show during 21,39 in 2016

150 x 60 cm digital prints

10 Editions

‚Äč

Essay:

“1.monuments are human landmarks which men have created as symbols for their ideals, for their aims, and for their actions. They are intended to outlive the period which originated them, and constitute a heritage for future generations. As such, they form a link between the past and the future.”

-nine points on monumentality, j.l.sert, f.léger, s.diedion

 

visible from up to 25 kilometers away.

An impeccable display of engineering precision.

The largest clock face on the planet atop one of the tallest buildings in the world.

A modern marvel, a monument.

 

Abraj al bait has marked its territory. Let us proceed with a general inquisition into the intention behind the world’s recently acquired landmark. (have we lost an arm and a leg only to desperately catch up with dubai?)

“the name of the building means ‘the house’ and is a reference to the holy Kaaba within the mosque across the street.” The terminology used for the project reveals much about the duality of its relevance. It suggests a reference to al Kaaba, and a relationship of service and submission of towers to the house of god. Abraj al bait to al bait. Furthermore, it is conceived and publicized as an endowment intended to serve the religious monument. Yet, abraj al bait is in no doubt the monument itself.

After thousands of years Makkah and its humble inhabitants had serviced pilgrims, the towers attempt to generate a pseudo-culture of modern pilgrimage. A culture retrofitted with all the inequalities and social stratification of late imperialist capitalism, with the tower as its indisputable beacon. Therefore, the function of serviceability boldly shifts to that of real estate revenue. And suddenly, the humility of service becomes the display of ego.

 

Feeble attempts at religious symbolism to sugarcoat the reality of this endeavor have found their only manifestation in the names of towers (al-safa, al-marwa…etc.) the crest of palm and sword hovers above the cicling pilgrims. The kitch led light show is programmed to correlate with prayer times to serve as a modern visual reminder of prayer.

 

“2.monuments are the expression of man’s highest cultural needs. They have to satisfy the eternal demand of the people for translation of their collective force into symbols.”

-nine points on monumentality, j.l.sert, f.léger, s.diedion

 

Has our thirst for culture been satisfied?