Gulf Futurism: Chronographies of Power in Contemporary Art
My newest research project focuses on Gulf Futurism as an artistic and literary movement in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. Artistic works explore hypercapitalism and consumerism, technology, and outer space ambitions, along with the ethnofutures of a region where migrant workers from the Global South constitute a vast majority of the population.
My project reveals how Gulf futurists critique and simultaneously aid the construction of particular chronographies of power, by which I mean the power-dynamics that result from creating a particular socio-political, economic, and gendered image of the future.
The futures imagined in artistic science-fiction works profoundly influence the engineering of our futures in reality, which cultural theorist Mark Fisher has termed “sci-fi capital". This is especially relevant in a region that has attracted intense media coverage for its ambitions and state-sanctioned visions for a utopia soon-to-come, including the UAE’s Mars mission, museums of the future, robots with citizenship, or futuristic urban projects.
I have already delivered two well-received conference papers on this project, at the Middle East Studies Association and the H2020 Global Traces conference. Currently, I am working on multi-year funding proposals for this project.
Horizon 2020 Global Traces Conference: Art Practice, Ethnography, Contested Heritage, University of Oslo, February 2019