Differed Cross Section, 2014

HD video, silent, color, single channel, 08:14 min
Projection dimensions 250cm x 40cm
Viewing hours: 7PM - 12AM
Alley between House 11 and House 16, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai
SIKKA 2014, Commissioned by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

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

Over the years the Dubai creek, a natural harbour, continued to attract traders and merchants from around the region. As Dubai kept expanding, the role of the boundary wall as a line of defense became redundant - in the 20th century the wall was demolished. The spill over of urban growth continued inland, which still persists today.

The dimensions of the video are cropped to match the cross section dimensions of the historic wall that averaged a height of 250 cm and a width of 40 cm. The video unspools a journey, where the present overlaps the past. As we navigate the course of the historic wall, we meander through thriving markets and heritage neighbourhoods in an area that is now called Bur Dubai. Today, the path of the wall finds in its place merchant shops, offices, residences, bazaars, traders, settlers, migrants, tourists, vehicles, hand carts, paved roads, concrete structures, historic buildings, wholesale goods, commodities and more. The sliver of a video is projected within the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood where the historic boundary wall once ran through. Seen at the dead-end of a narrow alley, that allows access only to a single viewer, this monolithic video frames the viewer to question their position in Dubai.

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

Production credits: Adnan X Khan (Cinematographer), Hasan Aslan (Focus Puller), Tom Lebaric (Steadicam operator), Hanoz Nawdar (Editor).

2018 © Vikram Divecha