I recently viewed a public art commission at Dubai's foremost cultural district - Alserkal Avenue: it was an installation by an artist collective - METASITU, who had transformed a warehouse on the Avenue previously known as Nadi Al Quoz, into a 21st-century ruin. The work titled: 'we were building sand castles_but the wind blew them away', was inspired by the perennial demolitions that have become an integral part of contemporary placemaking around the world. Through this piece of work, METASITU reflects on the extractive city-building processes, while contextualising them within different human and ecological timelines. The long-term vision of the artists was to deconstruct the building and return its constituent materials to their ‘original state’. Later this year, they plan to further deconstruct the installation into a public landscaped environment.
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