Art History Lecture Series Presents "Monuments Of The Everyday" By Khaled Malas

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Art History Lecture Series Presents "Monuments Of The Everyday" By Khaled Malas
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University of Texas at Austin Department of Art and Art History says
"Monuments of the Everyday" by Khaled Malas
Thu, Mar 31 at 4 p.m.
Art Building UT Campus, Room 1.120
FREE and open to the public

This presentation centers on two recent projects by Khaled Malas that examine alternative narratives of modernities and its creative resistances. In collaboration with multiple actors, Malas seeks to generate a novel understanding of recent history through the deployment of neglected historical material. With his collaborators, Malas deploys this knowledge to produce humble structures built into the scorched contemporary Syrian landscape. Such projects stem from a firm conviction that architecture can perform a transformative role that it is capable of transcending the oft-unquestioned distinctions between building and monument.

The first project, excavating the sky, was commissioned by and exhibited at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. excavating the sky examined the role of heavy-mechanical flight, whether through bombing or observation, in producing the landscapes of Syria. Embedded into the earth, and defiantly challenging the violence that falls from above onto the surface, this research was coupled with the construction of two wells built with an activist group in rebel-controlled Deraa, in Southern Syria. More than two years later, these wells still provide water for a community of 27,000 people.

The second project, current power in syria, is concerned with the role of electricity as an invisible force that is capable of producing new social relations, transforming the populace from subjects to citizens. These relations are manifested physically in space through infrastructures, appliances and practitioners. In the besieged Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus, and in collaboration with a photojournalist and a blacksmith, a windmill to generate power for a public program was erected in June 2015. Representations of this project, including a brief alternative history of electricity in Syria, will be shown at the 6th Marrakech Biennale from February 24 – May 8, 2016.

In Syria, where the land is the stake and the site of multiple cycles of excessive violence, the comprehension of past struggles in/of space and its meanings becomes essential. As such, these projects attempt to forge new ways of building in accordance with the circumstances of the Syrian context today.

Khaled Malas is an architect from Damascus. A graduate of the American University of Beirut and Cornell University, he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He is a member of various associations including the Arab Image Foundation, the Historians of Islamic Art Association, and the London Institute of ‘Pataphysics.
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By: University of Texas at Austin Department of Art and Art History

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