Sharjah Biennial Report: After Dark

Mar 21, 2013 7:53AM

During the day, there is nothing very inviting about the sprawling playground on Sharjah’s Bank Street. It is for the most part abandoned, looking like the land of the misfit toys, dumped on the black dunes of the Middle East. A lonely orange dinosaur rises from a valley across from a teacup-shaped bench that remains intensely immobile. Even the low, sloping dunes can only provide the shortest of adrenaline rushes for those who windmill down them. The volleyball nets, mismatched seats and squat mushroom lights seem to exist here without relation or context.

But these structures do have context for many of the people who call this neighborhood home. The Copenhagen-based collective SUPERFLEX interviewed immigrant residents about objects that they remember from the public spaces of their childhoods and replicated these structures here for the Biennial. Though this playground of displaced memories is empty during the day, it is quick with life at night.

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