Participants during one of the workshops at Tasmeem Doha 2022.
Doha: For four days, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), a Qatar Foundation partner university, played host to some of the best, creative, and radical minds in fields as varied as forensic architecture, sustainability, media and communications, critical worldbuilding, computational art, typography, materials’ future, bio-art, art and conflict, and post-petroleum societies, to name a few.
Virtual attendees from the public joined the VCUarts Qatar community to discover, discuss, and learn new, and in some cases even rediscover old, pathways, methods, and strategies that not only elevate existing creative practice, but also address escalating material and humanitarian concerns.
An exhibition titled ‘Futurisms’, organized by The Gallery at VCUarts Qatar and Tasmeem Doha 2022: Radical Futures, and curated by renowned design innovator and Afrofuturist Ingrid LaFleur, was part of the conference.
Eyal Weizman from Forensic Architecture based at Goldsmiths, University of London delivered the keynote address. Forensic Architecture is a research agency that investigates human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations.
Findings from its investigations have been presented in national and international courtrooms, parliamentary inquiries, and exhibitions at some of the world’s leading cultural institutions and in international media, as well as in citizen’s tribunals and community assemblies.
In his address, Weizman talked about how the agency uses cutting-edge techniques in spatial and architectural analysis, open-source investigation, digital modeling, and immersive technologies, as well as documentary research, situated interviews, and academic collaboration to carry out investigations with and on behalf of communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes, and environmental violence.
Prior to the keynote talk, the Directors of Tasmeem Doha 2022, Basma W Hamdy, Diane C. Derr, PhD, Maysaa Al Mumin and former VCUarts Qatar faculty member Denielle Emans, PhD, spoke to the audience, sharing their thoughts on the theme of the conference from their own perspectives.
Denielle Emans asked the audience, “Design creates solutions, highlights opportunities, seeks justice all the while leading the narrative of our human legacy on earth. Painting, sculpture, film, typography, music, architecture, language – those are the legacies that reflect the beauty and intelligent of humanity. But we also left other legacies: war, slavery, colonization, genocide, apartheid, and economic greed. What do we want our future legacy to be?”
The masterclasses and workshops were interspersed with performances by artists, ‘jam sessions’ by Sonic Jeel, a VCUarts Qatar-based collective, and booths where attendees could try their hand at block-printing on textiles or learn how to trap stray cats.