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ADS8: Data Matter – The Gaming Edition

Nour Al Ahmad

Nour is a second year architecture student at The Royal College of Art. She completed her undergraduate degree at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, prior to working in product design, interior design and architecture practices in London. 

In her first year at the RCA, Nour studied with ADS2 (led by David Knight, Diana Ibáñez López & Ahmed Belkhodja) which focused on past, present and future of UK National Park designations. Her project explored the future of a remote island in the Western Hebrides of Scotland, currently inhabited by only six residents. She received a Distinction in her thesis which explored the thresholds of the Green Line of Cyprus and how it has shaped life in the divided city of Nicosia.

Nour’s current interests are in the intersection of architecture and technology and hopes to utilise her skills and experiences as a spatial designer upon graduating from the RCA.

Outside of architecture, Nour is an avid hillwalker and has a strong interest in island studies. She is currently an Island Innovation Ambassador for England, and is undertaking research on island governance and the politics of distance in The Shetland Isles for her History and Theory Studies module.

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Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS8: Data Matter – The Gaming Edition

This project explores the spatial digitisation of collective memories and lived experiences of individuals in a country torn by its historical and political context; Syria. Nour is interested in the dialogue that occurs between memories and the spaces in which they are situated in, and what role technology can play in visualising the intangibility of memory. She is also interested in the collective memories of people who have experienced vivid events throughout their lifetime - often recalled through their senses - and particularly the way they were feeling as the event unfolded. Humans remember emotionally charged memories better than mundane ones. 

The process of memory encoding, storage and retrieval is not void of inconsistencies, errors or gaps in recollections. As a result, the human mind subconsciously fills the gaps with its own approximations of what may have happened, in a process called confabulation. Although this process creates memory errors, it also creates an opportunity for estimations and calculations to be made which contribute to actualising the memories. As a spatial practitioner, Nour will utilise this key concept when translating authored experiences into a memory archive. She aims to continue exploring gaming narratives and forms of storytelling as a mode of archiving and memory preservation. Gaming technologies and virtual environments will be her testing grounds for immersive storytelling, and a portal into a digital archive to experience and explore whole, overlapping and fragmented memories. Nour is also interested in the possibilities of collating pasts, presents and futures simultaneously within a digital environment, and the role of temporality in memory displacement.

Syria Through a Google Search — Instantaneous news reports of this national trauma have been live streamed on social media and news channels worldwide, but very often through an overwhelming saturation of numbers and images to narrate the story of the uprising and to convey the atrocities committed by the regime. The search results of 'Syria' followed by an annual date from 1980 to 2020 conveys the story of Syria in image form, cartopolitical diagrams and urban desutruction evidence at the scale of a drone.

Syria's turbulent past and present is one of immense civil unrest, regional conflicts and most recently, a national uprising against the current Syrian political regime - The Baath Party. March of 2011 marked the commencement of daily mass protests in the town of Daraa, after a teenage boy was captured and killed after he graffitied “down with the government” on a street wall. As a result, years of tensions between civilians and the government was unearthed, which resulted in the beginning of a revolution against the Syrian regime.

CollectionsHistoryImageStorytelling
Memory Excerpt 01: Souk Al Hamidiyah and Khan As'ad Pasha Caravanserai — An archived digital memory of Souq Al Hamidiyah and Khan As'ad Pasha - the largest central Souk (market) and caravanserai in Syria.
Memory Excerpt 02: Grandmother's Villa and the smell of Jasmine — An archived digital memory of family gatherings in a domestic setting.

Medium:

Film

Memory Reconstruction 01: The Kitchen — The scale, layout and smell of a Syrian kitchen is recalled through memories and events associated with this space. Reconstructed in white pointclouds.

Memory Reconstruction 02: The Kitchen Hideout — An elevated kitchen storage space, accessible only via a removable ladder, is the equivalent of the kitchen 'snack cupboard' or the clutter cupboard for many Syrian households. In a retold memory, this storage space was also used as a hideout by a family member during a house raid by Syrian regime officials.

Spatialising Memories: Experimental Film

Aziz Foundation

Website:

https://azizfoundation.org.uk/

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