Call for Students: Cranes and Cube: Architecture, Built and Unbuilt

31 May, 2017

Call for Students: Cranes and Cube: Architecture, Built and Unbuilt

This is an opportunity to accompany Professor Asma Kazmi, Department of Art Practice and the Berkeley Center for New Media, on a paid two-week research and production trip to Jeddah, Medina, and Mada’in Saleh, Saudi Arabia in August 2017.

Description of the Project

Cranes and Cube: Architecture, Built and Unbuilt is a project that maps the radically changing sites and topographies of Saudi Arabia. It surveys the political force fields underlying the idealism and grandeur of the real estate boom in the region, which is in dialogue with cycles of change and transformation of preexisting structures and localities. This project aims to analyze the interminable currents of urban development—of structures built and unbuilt—and the histories, desires, and concurrent contexts that inform this process.

During this trip, Professor Kazmi and two graduate students will document and re/present the current state of some sites and locations in Saudi Arabia. These include Al-Balad (old city, Jeddah), newly constructed resorts and malls, and some archaeological sites including Mada’in Saleh. The final outcome of this investigation will be an art exhibit containing images/objects/texts produced by the multiple authors involved in this trip. This exhibit will provide a framework for discussions about the visual symbolism of architecture, social and political associations of a site, power structures, memorializing of sites, and the aesthetics at play in the tides of the reconfiguration and remaking of locales.

This trip is generously funded by grants from the Berkeley Center for New Media and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Berkeley. To view artworks by Professor Kazmi you can visit


  • Paid round-trip airfare to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Shared hotel accommodations for the duration of the trip
  • A daily meal stipend
  • Paid ground transportation in Saudi Arabia


  • You must be fully enrolled in a graduate program at UC Berkeley
  • You must be available to travel for two weeks in August 2017
  • You must have a creative practice that will be enhanced by this trip
  • You must be willing to engage in a collaborative exchange to develop a body of work that will be shown in an art exhibit (venue and time to be determined)
  • Some knowledge and experience with photo/video documentation, AR/VR platforms, animation, and sculptural materials and processes would be helpful

What You Need to Apply

  • A 300 word statement about how this research/production trip has the potential to expand your knowledge and to develop your creative practice
  • A current CV which includes a list of any relevant technical skills
  • Name of a faculty advisor who is familiar with your work

Application Deadline

Your application must be emailed to akazmi [​at​] by June 10, 2017