Heba Y. Amin is an Egyptian visual artist and scholar and currently, a lecturer in the Media and Computing department at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, her work is embedded in extensive research addressing the convergence of politics, technology, and urbanism. She is particularly interested in tactics of subversion and techniques used to undermine systems as well as topics surrounding critical spatial practice and critical geography.
By Efi Michalarou
Photo: Zilberman Gallery Archive
Heba Y. Amin’s solo exhibition, titled “An Astronomical Determination of the Distance Between Two Cities” is on presentation at Zilberman Gallery in Istanbul. In a two-part project, Amin looks at the historical paradigms of technology and urban development in relation to contemporary migratory paths. By employing cartographic research and landscape surveillance, Amin critiques the predatory view of landscape and the exoticization of women’s bodies in relation to geography. The project proposes a visual allegory focusing on architectural fragments and sexual desires to challenge colonial histories. Her first project entitled “The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid” utilized Al-Bakri’s “Book of Roads and Kingdoms,” an 11th Century geography text describing trade routes in West Africa, to critique the authored accounts of travelers describing cities through sexually explicit descriptions of the women they encounter. Since the original manuscript exists only in fragments, Amin embarked on a five-month journey along the same routes, documenting geographies missing from the text. In “An Astronomical Determination of the Distance Between Two Cities” the second part of the project, among the visited cities is La Agüera, a former Spanish colonial outpost buried in the sand dunes of the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula. The second part examines the structural remnants of this Saharan ghost town through the found memoir of Jesus Flores, the last living inhabitant from 1933. The work explores the town’s colonial era in juxtaposition to the remaining architectural fragments guarded by Mauritanian military forces. Amin confronts the clash between one man’s nostalgia for his childhood in Spanish Sahara and the lengthy and brutal struggle for a land whose sovereignty is still disputed after Spanish withdrawal in 1975.
Info: Zilberman Gallery – Istanbul, İstiklal Cad. Mısır Apt. No:163, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Duration: 7/1-18/2/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Fri 10:00-19:30, Sta 12:00-19:00, http://zilbermangallery.com