Cultural Development

Yes, it’s a thing.  I promise!  The most exciting thing is that is is happening kind of like, now.  I have been reading a lot about the new project on Saadiyat Island (check it out for yourself) and the more I read the more I am hooked.  Now, this project has not proceeded without some amount or drama and politics (it does involve individuals from literally all over the world, so I suppose “some” is an understatement), but I would like to recognize just how global this project is.

The Island is intended to be the new draw for the United Arab Emirates.  It is staged to be the convergence of middle eastern culture, a kind of one stop shop for understanding their history and how it has led to who they are today.  It will be a “treasure for the world.”  Personally, I am pretty excited.  I have never pictured such a concentration of cultural access in that part of the world.  At first blush, this seems to be a big, bold step in context of the world affairs.  I hope to be able to comment more in this from time to time, so stay posted as I learn more.  But for starters, I want to make a comment about what the website is really trying to drive home.

The website outlines exactly what each building is intended house, culturally speaking, and how its construction speaks to Abu Dhabi history and growth.  The design and curatorial vision for each structure is extremely sensitive to historic transnational interactions.  In reading about the goals of each structure, all four of them mention the focus on communicating a nation that came to be based on flows of information and influence that crossed geographical boundaries.  The point Abu Dhabi is making: we are transnational, we are made up of many things, we have grown from influences that came from outside our own culture. 

Also fun fact: each of the architects of the main buildings on the island come from the corners of the world: Japan, UK, Canada/America, Iraq, and France.  Even the structures themselves are speaking transnationally.      



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