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'Foundland: Escape Routes and Waiting Rooms' opens at International Studio & Curatorial Program
Escape Routes And Freedom Mirages exhibition at Window to the World Festival at Baltic Sea Cultural Centre in Gdansk, Poland, 7 November - 15 December 2013. Photo by Ania Domańska. Courtesy of Edge of Arabia.
BROOKLYN, NY.- Foundland Collective is one of two participants of Edge of Arabia's first artist residency in the US, in partnership with Art Jameel and ISCP. The residency is an integral component of Edge of Arabia's three year tour of events and collaborations across the country.

In Escape Routes and Waiting Rooms, Foundland investigates personal stories of mobility and migration around Syria, a place where freedom of movement is strictly restricted due to its ongoing civil war. In two newly created installations, a Syrian family’s dinner table is restaged to depict a schematic map of a family where most of the members have migrated from the country over time. The work reveals intimate family moments and history set in a ravaged country where millions of people are displaced.

Also included in this exhibition is a tent and video installation modeled on actual tents used in Za’tari camp in Jordan, one of the largest Syrian refugee camps in the world. Originally serving as a temporary living space, a refugee tent can be considered a “waiting room” for an unknown future. Foundland visualizes the potentiality of the tent as a symbolic transformative structure, which initially facilitates temporary, emergency landscapes, but could become the starting point for new communities over time. Foundland: Escape Routes and Waiting Rooms is organized by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions with Shinnie Kim, Programs Manager at the ISCP. A catalog will be published to accompany the exhibition with a commissioned text by Nat Muller, an independent curator and critic specializing in media art and contemporary art in and from the Middle East.

Foundland (established 2009) is a collective whose work draws on graphic design, art, writing and research. Comprised of the artists Ghalia Elsrakbi and Lauren Alexander, Foundland focuses on a critical analysis of topics related to political and locational branding through visual and written forms. Since 2011 it has centered more on the Middle East, with special interest in Elsrakbi’s homeland, Syria. Foundland has developed an expanding database of visuals and information, gathered from observations of media, activist groups and trends of political expression across social media. Drawing unexpected relations and connections, they create alternative narratives to media reporting through innovative image making and personal interpretation. Foundland has presented in group exhibitions including the Kadist Foundation, Paris (2012); Impakt Festival, Utrecht (2011, 2012); BAK, Utrecht (2012); and the Damascus Visual Arts Festival, Istanbul (2013) – and has presented lecture at Studium Generale ArtEZ, Arnhem; de Appel for Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam; Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague; Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam; and the Athens Biennial 2013. In 2013 they completed an artist residency at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo.

Ghalia Elsrakbi (b. 1978, Damascus, Syria) completed a BA Graphic Design at Artez Hogeschool voor de Kunst, Arnhem, followed by a Masters in Design at the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. In 2009, she followed a research post-graduate at Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. Since 2011 she has been involved with various activist groups promoting creative dissidence in Syria and since 2013 she has been based in Cairo, Egypt.

Lauren Alexander (b. 1983, Cape Town, South Africa) completed a BA Graphic Design at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, followed by a Masters in Design at the Sandberg Institute and an MFA at the Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem. She is member of the tutoring staff at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague.





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