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Nubian Holding Patterns: Prototypes for Spatial Resilience

Jessica Cristovao



Sarah De Villiers, Dr. Huda Tayob, Naadira Patel


18 - Hyperreal Prototypes



Using the labour of working through old rituals, this project constructs prototypes of spatial resilience as ways of seeing and remembering. These prototypes make old things visible and conscious – the project reveals hidden and forgotten patterns of an endangered culture. The location is the site of the Aswan Dam, and Lake Nasser. In 1964, as a result of the building of the dam, over 100 000 Egyptian Nubians were forced to move from 45 villages and relocated to Aswan.

This project is interested in the recurrence and disappearance of ceremonialism and rituals among Nubian people. Much of the life of old Nubia revolved around ceremonialism. This study discusses some of the most important and distinctive aspects of Nubian culture, and provides some clues to the possible patterns of future cultural change in the community. The displacement of the Nubia came with a deep cultural loss. They experienced language deterioration, loss of community spirit, a change in the role of women in society, changes in costumes and attire, ceremonies and customs, changes in spatial arrangements of homes and villages, and changes in political and economic life. These ways of seeing and remembering will provide a space for continuity and resilience in Nubian customs, while considering adaptation and change.