Between a Rock and a Hard Place debuts at Nuit Blanche

virtual light simulation of a cavern

Haneen Dalla-Ali's (B.Arch, 2017, M.Arch, 2019) digital installation, Between a Rock and a Hard Place has been selected for Nuit Blance 2022. The project will be hosted by TIFF at the TIFF Bell Lightbox throughout the event on Saturday, October 1st 7pm - October 2nd 7am.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a digital installation that evokes the immigrant’s struggle in the search for home and identity, post-migration. In this work, Dalla-Ali creates Arabic letter fragments inspired by the traditional Kufic font, a prominent Arabic script, established in Kufa, Iraq. As she digitally arranges the fragments, she maps out her experience of navigating the narrow limestone fissures at the Limehouse Conservation Area, a natural site near her current home in Ontario. The act of juxtaposing the Arabic script with a parcel of Southern Ontario’s landscape allows her to visualize home. Through this work, she seeks to create a virtual realm that most accurately expresses her hybrid domestic identity in the diaspora. Presented as a projected animation and an augmented reality installation, her notion of home becomes an event that takes place within a specific timeframe – a temporal experience, rather than a static, physical dwelling.

Contemplating the paradox of home in the diaspora, Haneen Dalla-Ali’s work investigates the relationship between the recalling mind and the sensing body. After emigrating from the Middle East to Canada as a teen, the pieces she creates examine her identity as an Iraqi Canadian through the juxtaposition of memories and sensory encounters, with places and objects. As an artist and architectural designer, she explores the space that lies between the two disciplines, and between hand-making and digital fabrication methodologies.

A sample of the augmented reality work can be seen here.