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.
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'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.