HYDROGEN | Senior Project Exhibition 2014 of the Visual Cultures Program, Department of the Arts

Curated by Dr. Shady Elnoshokaty

May 7-15, 2014, Gallery Hours: 9am–4pm daily except Fridays, Sharjah Art Gallery

Opening: Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 1pm - 9pm

with works by: Miral Abdel Moneim | Habiba Allam | Ines Alexandra El Sayed Al Laban | Zeina Asfour | Mondow Ayoub | Marwa Benhalim | Samar El Abbasy | Leila Eleshe | Tuqa El-Harouny | Salma El-Shaffei | Doaa Gamil | Ingy Helmy | Samar Khaled | Ayette Meligy | Salma Osama | Nour Rashad | Alyaa Sadek

Hydrogen is the 2014 senior student exhibition of the Visual Cultures Program at AUC. The exhibition presents seventeen projects created through a year-long process that began last semester with a research phase in ARTV 469 and continued this semester with a production phase in ARTV 470, during which students finalized their research outcomes into art works. Both research and production phases are an integral part of the educational process.

Hydrogen is what can be called a basic element. It is matter that is non-matter and absolute matter at the same time. It is non-matter in that its one-cell composition has no substance in and of itself. It is absolute matter because it is the root and cause of contradictory processes that result in both creation and destruction. Hydrogen’s transformative capacities make it an element that is the substance of the most powerful destructive weapon the humankind has ever created: the hydrogen bomb. But it is also a source of life—water, electricity and engine power—that materially sustain the world. It is this radical contradiction that makes hydrogen a dialectic matter, that of creation and destruction. It is in this sense that hydrogen in its transformative potential intersects with the basic processes of art. Both utilize matter and medium and subject it to a drastic transformation to an extent that the basic matter is negated through the labor of the artist. Hydrogen and art meet at yet another level: they reveal the unstable nature of reality in its constant dynamic alterability.

The Visual Cultures Program at AUC offers an integrated curriculum within a liberal arts context. It combines an interdisciplinary approach to the arts in a larger cultural sphere with tools and methods borrowed from other disciplines such as the sciences, sociology, anthropology and history. The program is oriented towards visual research and production grounded in an exploration of creativity and a critical approach towards art and culture. The current senior year exhibition showcases one of the first and early outcomes of the new curriculum. Students have adopted a process-oriented conceptual approach and developed a variety of visual and performative languages in their multi-media work.

Shady Elnoshokaty