This guest speaker talk is open to the entire ITP community. Seating is limited.
subject: artist talk by Azra Aksamija time: 5pm – 6pm room 445 As part of the “Technology as Identity” class taught at ITP by Ayah Bdeir for more info: please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Azra Aksamija’s “Wearable Mosque” projects negotiate spatial relationships between Islamic traditions and modernity in the US and Western Europe. Through the design of wearable mosques, clothes that can be transformed into prayer-rugs, and other portable religious devices, Aksamija examines the notion of the mosque and investigates its formal limits. The projects are based on the concept of the “World as a Mosque,” as defined by the Prophet Mohammed, as as well as on individual needs and experiences of the worshipper. By designing various devices that can transform any secular space into a prayer space, Aksamija deconstructs the territoriality of sacral spaces via nomadic and mobile architecture. Her “Wearable Mosques” accommodate the liturgical necessities, but also act as a prosthetic devices for the worshipper in communicating their prayers: problems, needs and desires. These thoughts thus contribute to an architectural interpretation of Islam, representing it not as a static concept, which it is often understood to be, but rather as a dynamic process that allows change in time and place.
Biography: Azra Aksamija is an Austrian artist and architectural historian. Since fall 2004 she has been affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Architecture (History Theory and Criticism Section / Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture) and as a Graduate Affiliate at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS). Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1976, she graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University Graz, Austria in 2001, and received her M.Arch from Princeton University, USA in 2004. Her work has been widely published and exhibited in venues such as the Generali Foundation Vienna (2002), Biennial de Valencia (2003), Berlin Art Fair (2003), Graz Biennial of Media and Architecture (2003), Gallery for Contemporary Art Leipzig (2003), Liverpool Biennial (2004), Witte de With Rotterdam (2005), Sculpture Center New York City (2006), Secession Vienna (2007), and Manifesta 7 (2008). She is currently researching her dissertation on identity politics and mosque architecture in post- socialist Bosnia and Herzegovina.