Medieval Maps: Waters of Life, Waters of Death, Punctum Caecum series, 2016

Medieval Maps: Waters of Life, Waters of Death, Punctum Caecum series, 2016

above: 10th c. Persian Gulf Map; detail

Waters of Life, Waters of Death, Punctum Caecum series, 2016

Waters of Life, Waters of Death, showcases the silhouettes of the medieval maps of four major bodies of water in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The pieces are accompanied by a video projection of the moving waves. The movements of the waves coming to the shore stand as a metaphor for the plight of the Syrian and Afghan refugees who frequently cross these waters on small, rickety smuggler boats to reach Europe, even at the cost of possibly being drowned. These bodies of water were historically sources of life and prosperity, and they facilitated exchanges of goods and ideas across the Middle East and Europe. Juxtaposing today’s waters against their images in historical times, I allude to the ironic contrast between today’s socio-economic and political circumstances and those of the historic times. The silhouettes are modeled after maps in The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes by an 11th c. Arab cartographer and Traditions of Countries by Estakhri, a 10th c. Persian geographer and traveler.

Waters of Life, Waters of Death, 2016
Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Bosphorus Strait
Wood panels and screws, 22” x 94”and video projection, 12:10

Waters of Life, Waters of Death, 2016
Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Bosphorus Strait
Wood panels and screws, 22” x 94”and video projection, 12:10

Installation View at the exhibition: Stateless, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA

Waters of Life, Waters of Death, 2016
Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Bosphorus Strait
Wood panels and screws, 22” x 94”,  video projection, 12:10 and originals maps printed on aluminum

Research:

final-all-maps-together-8x12

Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Bosphorus Strait
The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes, by an unknown 11th c. Arab cartographer
and the masalik al-mamalik “Traditions of Countries” manuscript, 10th c, by Estakhri

two gulf maps

Persian Gulf maps, The Islamic Document Museum
masalik al-mamalik “Traditions of Countries” manuscript, 10th c, by Estakhri
Tehran, Iran, January 2016

The-Gulf-Map-smaller-size

Estakhri’s 10th c. Persian Gulf maps and The Islamic Document Museum
masalik al-mamalik “Traditions of Countries” manuscript
Tehran, Iran, January 2016

Waters of Life, Waters of Death has been exhibited in the group show Stateless,  Nov 2016-Jan 2017,  at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA