Ghost stories, hauntings and afterlives of the Suez Canal in Egypt
Sarah De Villiers, Dr. Huda Tayob, Naadira Patel
18 - Hyperreal Prototypes
This project is an online exhibit, where visitors can experience forgotten or inaccessible spaces and buildings from a distance. A collection of semi-real and semi-fictional stories tells the tale of the Suez Canal and its invisible or unknown influence in modern day Egypt. Events and buildings related to the canal are explored through fictional narratives and characters.
The project employs fiction as a tool to write ghost stories or stories of exclusions. Language in architecture is also a method of spatial translation to a visitor. Descriptive words and literary tools are employed to aid the imagination in experiencing spaces conceived in the mind.
Sites visited in these stories are the Aswan High Dam Complex, Villa Casdagli and the Serageldin Palace in Downtown Cairo. These are visited by characters in the stories and are explored in drawing and text to reveal invisible traumas and events that haunt these sites to this day. The last chapter of these stories is a film to tie it all together using the master plan of the narrative structure, building materials, colonial masters, political spies, Soviet funds and revolutions – all connected and linked back to the Suez Canal.
The use of video and user experience relates to the theory of phenomenology and embodied experience and how it aids to individual memory. By combining language, voices, sounds and drawings, the user can access these ghostly events and haunted buildings through an embodied experience without ever having to visit the actual sites.