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RIYADH: Combining technology with traditional practices to increase the profile of Saudi arts on the world stage.
Backed by an immersive experience design company, the artists attending major events in the kingdom are exhibiting their work using augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies.
Based in Jeddah, Midwam has worked to promote public and private sector brands at festivals such as Noor Riyadh, MDLBEAST and AlUla Dates Festival.
Midwam co-founder and CEO Khalid Al-Muawad told Arab News: ”
In collaboration with Noor Riyadh, the company worked with four Saudi artists to apply a high-tech perspective to their work.
Mohammed Al-Sanie, a contributing artist and senior member of Midwam’s production department, told Arab News: It shouldn’t be the star of what we do, it should be the tools we use. ”
A new media artist, Al-Sanie’s work is primarily influenced by the 1980s, retro science fiction, and synthwave electronic music genres, and aims to illustrate the present and future through the past.
One of his works, Dreams in Color, is an outdoor LED installation that presents an alternative version of Riyadh via a video loop displayed on a screen surrounded by wood, cladding and Styrofoam scaffolding. .
• Jeddah-based Midwam has worked to promote public and private sector brands at festivals such as Noor Riyadh, MDLBEAST and AlUla Dates Festival.
• In collaboration with Noor Riyadh, the company worked with four Saudi artists to apply a high-tech perspective to their work.
“When it comes to retro aesthetics, the first thing that comes to mind is the CRT TV that my grandparents had. We are merging old techniques.”
His ideas are based on black and white TV sets from the 1950s and 1960s, reimagining the future in rendered 3D worlds composed of warm hues and neon accents.
“Dreams in Color is an informed me trying to influence people’s dreams in positive, happy, surreal and imaginative ways.” Al-Sanie added.
Under the theme of ‘We Dream of New Horizons’, Noor Riyadh Festival sought to promote light innovation through various mediums.
Al-Sanie said his work is designed to balance the digital and physical, comparing old and new Riyadh through retro-futuristic depictions.
Midwam also partners with other artists to develop content and storyboard experiences.
As part of the Saudi Arts Council’s 21,39 initiative, the company collaborated with Marwah Al-Mugait to create a 3D video projection mapping performance.
Al-Muawad said: They are very precise and detailed about what the journey of the experience will be like. ”
For multimedia artist Daniah Al-Saleh’s Noor Riyadh work, Midwam helped her sketch, visualize and map her video work. Through social commentary, it explored resistance to public displays of love and affection in conservative societies.
Multiple AI-generated fake figures were projected onto the pillars and lip-synced to 26 famous Arab love songs to declare their love in public.
Al-Saleh told Arab News: My job involved a bit of mapping, so they were assigned to me. They were really hands-on. We had many meetings until they understood exactly what I wanted. ”
The company also collaborated with artist Mohamed Al-Falaj. Mohammed Al-Falaj’s ‘With light I make my hand of love and extend it to you’ work requires audience participation using mobile phones, and Mohammed Al-Hamdan uses interactive street lamps. Presented the installation “Walking Light”. Activated by pedestrian movement.
Entering the art scene through their work was key for the company to build public art initiatives, influence communities, humanize environmental issues, and position Saudi Arabia as a global platform.
“These are all considered soft power elements. When there is a certain perspective on a population or a country that is completely confined to a certain region, art comes along and it completely changes,” Al-Muawad added. I got
Al-Sanie said: Moreover, the visitor or observer brings their own perception. It’s an invisible conversation between the creator and the viewer. ”
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