Nora Alissa’s photographs in this collection flow swiftly from her project on Makkah, titled Epiphamania. Concerned with space, and the urban environment, the images in this project are about the more traditional areas in Saudi Arabia, alien to the modernised rural cities in the Kingdom. The character of these places become humanised, taking on a body of their own. The human figures become without an identity, distant figures in the midst of the rural space. Rural space takes on a central character in the narrative of Saudi Arabia. People become eaten up by the old buildings, the large trees and the traditional objects on sale in the souk. Their figures are wispy bodies, transient aspects of a space which is infinitely timeless, almost like it is outside time.

 

Hazy bodies and blurred subjects reflect the thought process of this work. Departing from photography which seeks to depict reality, the images here are more intuitive and emotional. The very act of exploring urban space and travelling within it becomes a random and personal act. Alissa’s approach is not predetermined and constructed, giving room for chance to play an essential role. The images’ lack of superficiality deem the photographs less about framing and aesthetics than they are about the human perception of the lived environment. In the images, it is not the artist that imposes the viewed subject; the reader alone is in charge of stabilising a very blurred perception.

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