|Collaborators||Birmingham Central Mosque, Brick Lane Jamme Mosque, Old Kent Road Mosque, Harrow Mosque, Shahed Saleem, V&A Museum, Muslim Council of Britain and Inclusive Mosque Initiative|
Assembly is a series of site-specific installations, comprising of 1:1 scaled moving floor projections with 5.1-surround sound. Assembly has been made and exhibited at Birmingham Central Mosque (Salat) in 2016, Brick Lane Mosque, London (Jamaat) in 2018/9, Old Kent Road Mosque, London (Jamaat) in 2019/20 and Harrow Mosque, London (Jamaat) in 2020. As the audience enters each prayer site the projection is activated, revealing a pre-recorded film of congregational prayer. The controlled motorisation of the projection re-traces the movement of the recorded image, giving the effect of only the frame moving through physical space, constantly revealing and concealing the actual site below. At the end of each residency the general public were invited into the prayer spaces to see the artwork. This provided an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims to experience Jumu'ah prayer first hand via the site-performances.
Previous research into Muslim sites of worship has mostly been conducted as theological and sociological studies, which neglect to acknowledge the performativity of Muslim prayer. “Mosques in the UK sit within a wider unhelpful discourse that likens them all to each other, making any one mosque representational of the many” (Marsh et al 2018, 45-46). When sites of worship are reduced to representation the performative and experiential qualities are lost. Assembly builds upon this notion via an understanding of Muslim prayer sites as emergent, relational and beyond representational regimes. This research uses the projected image as a performative rather than representational tool, providing a platform to engage and connect communities in Islamic sites of worship, temporarily dissolving the religious/social boundaries of the mosque.
Assembly uses the working methodology 'site-integrity', a term coined during my practice-based PhD at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London. Site-integrity is an interdisciplinary and process-driven research practice that questions the material, political and sensory representation of place. It is a site-specific and collaborative practice that builds direct social relationships with new audiences specific to the site. The research is essentially a performance art practice, exploring the comprehension of space as dualistically experienced and represented.
The research findings from Assembly will also be shown as part of The 2021 V&A/ La Biennale Special Project titled The British Mosque, curated by Shahed Saleem, author of The British Mosque: An Architectural and Social History (Historic England) and Chris Turner (V&A) & Ella Kilgallon (V&A). The exhibition uses different forms of reproduction, the digital and the physical to articulate an under-represented aspect of Britain’s religious heritage, the self-built mosque.
|Publisher||University of Westminster|
|Web address (URL)||https://site-integrity.com/projects/assembly/|