250cm x 40cm, 8:14 min


Alley between House 11 and House 16,
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

SIKKA 2014, Commissioned by
Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Differed Cross section, 2014 (Installation view / Video Excerpt)


This video traces the path of the Historic Bur Dubai Wall through modern day Dubai. Built in the 1800s using coral stone and gypsum, this boundary wall protected the older city, which was then a small fishing and trading village. It ran a length of more than 800 meters.

Over the years Dubais geographical location continued to attract traders and merchants from around the region and the walled area could not accommodate this growing influx. The role of the boundary wall as a line of defense became redundant, and in the 20th century the wall was demolished as Dubai expanded. The spill over of urban growth continued inland, which still persists to do so in our times today. This is where the interests of this video project lie.

'Differed Cross section' is projected within the cross section dimensions of the wall that had a maximum height of 250 cm and a minimum width of 40 cm. This cropped video is an attempt to unspool a sculptural journey, where the present overlaps the past. As we chart the course of this historic wall, we meander through thriving markets and heritage areas. The cross section, which would once comprise coral stone and gypsum today finds in its place merchant shops, offices, residences, bazaars, wholesale goods, commodities, traders, settlers, migrants, tourists, vehicles, hand carts, paved roads, concrete structures, historic structures and more. Extruding through Bur Dubai, this video captures the influx that largely inhabits this area. Projected at the end of a narrow alley, that allows access only to a single viewer, this monolithic video acts like a frame/portal, within which the viewer could situate and/or question his/her position in Dubai. Furthermore, the location where the viewer watches this video from, is approximately where the wall ran from, putting him/her on the historic path.

This project was supported by the Architectural Heritage Department of Dubai Municipality, whose team has been continuing research on the Dubai Boundary Wall for almost two decades.