Photos courtesy of Manar Moursi, Susan Nour, Yasmin Elayat


22 Abdel Khalek Tharwat St, 3rd Floor, Downtown, Cairo 11638, Egypt
Landscape and Public Spaces
Project selected:
Cairo, Egypt

The Wonderbox project was a contemporary revival of the extinct Egyptian theater box storytelling tradition. Conceived by Aida el Kashef and commissioned by Mahatat for Contemporary Art, the project was a collaboration between 9 artists of different backgrounds. Studio Meem, along with architect Mohamed Hassan worked on the design and construction of two boxes that were brought to life in a month-long series of live performances which traveled throughout Cairo. The first sandook’s design was inspired by the mirrored Islamic patterns of mosques in Iran and small grocery shops in Cairo. Seeing that mirrors were also employed as animation tools in the praxinscope-like techniques used inside the traditional boxes, it was decided that mirrors in an Islamic pattern would be projected on a geodesic sphere. The form of a sphere was employed because of its purity and the desire to connect visually to magic crystal and disco balls. The sphere was built as two geodesic domes that fit perfectly onto each other and these domes were further broken into 2 types of triangles that were attached together by joints that could be connected and disconnected. For the second sandook, the form was derived from ice-cream carts that one sees regularly around Cairo. The ice cream was meant to disarm the viewer who would be called at by its everyday familiar sight with a slightly different palette of colors and form only to discover a whole set of digital wonders to be experienced by peeping through its holes.

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