The Mosaic Rooms main exhibition space will be transformed for two weeks into A Watchtower of Happiness and Other Landscapes of Occupation.
The Watchtower of Happiness is a new installation by Febrik. This interactive work looks at the inventive, culturally specific and unique practices that demonstrators employed to occupy public spaces in three Arab cities during the recent uprisings. These first instances of confrontation were equally defiant and gentle, serious and playful. The work analyses the role of the camera in narrating these three particular perspectives: defiance (the collective discovery in Tunisia), liberation (the comic drama as portrait in Egypt) and censorship (the unexpected photographer in Syria). The camera's continued formal and informal use allowed for a multiplicity of representation, away from government and press control.
The Watchtower of Happiness uses these early moments of resistance and change, to turn visitors into unintentional activists through their interactions with different vantage points, viewfinders and captured images in the installation. A tower structure suggests systems of surveillance, from those seen at checkpoints, to illegal settlements or even at swimming pools. Here its form is stripped of everything except its physical advantage, offering a new spatial and social experience.
Alongside this interactive installation, there will also be Other Landscapes of Occupation in the form of a pop up shop. This landscape will host a series of public activities- from selling objects and items by Middle Eastern contemporary designers; to gathering around the space to share stories over seasonal refreshments from the café; to watching others interact with the tower and activate its levels and vantage points; to playing with practices from this experience, including creating make-shift helmets from recycled materials.
Event highlights will include the watchtower structure moving from The Mosaic Rooms to the V&A Friday Late on 30th November 6.30-10pm.
Febrik is a collaborative platform for participatory art and design research founded by Reem Charif, Mohamad Hafeda and Joumana Al Jabri. Visit their website.