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'Al-Batin’ Combo 313 - comes with LSD (LingualSymbolicDiaspora), 2019

Mohamed Chamas







Artist Statement

(GAN processes, 3D Graphics, Digital Art, Photomanipulation)

Patriarchal cyborg tools distort and puncture the oriental-other. A terrible fusion occurs - of 3abaya and assault rifle - manifest through GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) processes. Bodies caught in and displaced by war are often sites of violent union between flesh and metal; unnerving and unwilling cyborgs.

As most wars do/are doing, the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) set into motion a range of appendages. Almost half the population fled, and in the debris: a network of global, ghostly diaspora. Each displaced link survives by fusing with host culture; learning tongues; wrapping digestible intercultural exchanges in aluminium foil. And as these bodies are at risk under racialized surveillance, a poetics of the unseen (Al-Batin) is desired.

Highlighting the latter is the Shi’a symbol of the Zulfiqar (the sword of Imam Ali, s.a.w.s.); A celestial tool signifying resistance and hope. The Zulfiqar’s mystical element interfaces with a poetics of becoming-unseen, a feat calling for critical revivals of mythic cultural narratives. To upend power structures through adaption; assemblage with oppressor, is the emerging universal code.

Other stranded appendages are the fragments of mother('s)tongue that modulate the body: ‘LSD’ (LingualSymbolicDiaspora). The ‘LSD’ are talismans for a third culture-self, gaining dimension in 3D graphics software. They communicate the insufficiencies that English offers as a mode of learning and understanding Arabic. Furthermore, they act as tragic testament to examining - as a foreigner - one’s ancestry (via machine translation and search engine infrastructures).



The Wrong