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    Disclaimer

    Thank you for your interest in taking part in our participatory design project. The aim of which is to jointly contribute and support the community of artisans by having people such as yourself gifting them new design concepts for their traditional handicraft.

    Each design entry submitted through this portal will be included in an open source databank accessed by the commissioners. If your design is chosen to be produced and exhibited at ABWAB (Dubai Design Week) then your name will be appear alongside the product.

    Any sale of products will go back to sponsoring the artisans. The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities wishes to assist Bahraini artisans in protecting and safeguarding their crafts, find recognition and new markets where their products will be sold, and transmit the specific knowledge people have gained during a lifetime of working with their crafts to the younger generation.

Objective

Is to create a system that utilizes a guided interactive method that allows the imagination to grow instead of the current system in which craftsmen produce hundreds of replicas of the same product. The system is not a commercial ‘make your own pot’ kind of system, but rather it is a tool that gives people the opportunity to share what they think is beautiful while at the same time drawing upon the bespoke and imperfect character of the craft.

We will enable the craft to evolve into a series of contemporary fluid shapes; a lamp or a kettle or any other utilitarian products that can be used and reintroduced into our daily lives. For even though pottery products are used on a daily basis, the craftsmanship aspect of it - from sourcing the raw materials to the manufacturing of the products - is closely intertwined with the human senses. Such an interactive collection of shapes and coherent production system serves to stimulate and heighten the human senses, such as sight, sound, and touch.

Hence, we aim to successfully triangulate the craft from the local craftsmen (Delmon Factory) to Dubai and then back to the Kingdom of Bahrain. This will address the ongoing concern of creating awareness about this valuable and powerful craft which should remain a substantial and indispensable element in the fabric of the Bahraini heritage.

Furthermore, we will create an accessible interface which integrates a coherent system and presents a formal structure through which people – whether arbitrarily or by intentional design - can create a consistent collection. Through the interface screen, the users will be able to mimic the traditional craftsmen’s usage of their hands and eyes to measure and create with their hands and eyes to produce a personalized electronic authentication of the users’ experience with the craft. This interface will allow us therefore to take an undermined craft and rejuvenate it with new interactive concepts and attractive forms of presentation.

In addition, we will be showcasing a cutting edge intellectual montage video installation by demonstrating the narrative of the craft’s history through the language of sequential images.


Historic

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an island situated in the heart of the Arabian Gulf and was once the ancient land of Dilmun and later Tylos. Bahrain has both a unique and diverse culture and heritage in many modern and traditional industries, in particular its deep-rooted connection with pottery.

Pottery is a an ancient craft that arose in Bahrain during the Dilmun and Tylos periods as evidenced by the vast quantity of millennia-old artifacts found in archaeological sites throughout the island. Due to Bahrain's prime location, raw materials were locally sourced, a fact which led to the production of various types of pottery and Bahraini craftsmen becoming exceptionally renowned for their skills.

Historically, the use of pottery was an integral part of the daily lives, from carrying water using pots or, more typically, as storage vessels. Pottery used to be looked upon favorably by people as a dependable and durable material in their everyday lives, yet in present day this outlook has sadly taken a nostalgic turn in which the craft is merely admired for its aesthetic appeal. This led us to question if the practice of such a craft and the values that it teaches us can be made more accessible and engaging by incorporating the modern age technology which is so often accused of distracting us from its practice.

In present day, the factories in A’ali run on the same primitive tools, a fact which is reflected in the pottery it produces. Motivated by mass production, standardization of products was introduced, yet the process of shaping each pot by hand remained. Our aim is to generate and design a system that preserves a rich, albeit undermined local craft.

Through a customized and interactive system, we aim to personalize the public’s experience and - in the long run – make current and upcoming generations grasp the value of this unique and rich craft that is part of our Bahraini heritage and history, as well as reintroduce pottery back into our daily lives. Through modern applications and creation of a user-friendly interface that replicates the traditional pottery production system, the public will witness a comeback of pottery and at the same time have the chance to add new interactive ideas to the craft. This system strikes a balance between preserving the bespoke genuine nature of the craft and allowing it to evolve with the ever-changing world of today.

Film

Credits

commissioner

Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities

curator

Dana Abdulghani

BACA team

Hameeda Osman
Geir Erdal

designers

Othman Khunji
Maitham Almubarak

craftsmen

Delmon Factory, A'ali, Bahrain

film

Mohamed Almubarak

Unearthing. Bahrain participation in Dubai Design Week, Abwab 2016. All rights reserved, Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.