October 26, 2007

Survival Mosque

Brilliant and scathing commentary-as-art by Azra Akšamija:
Survival Mosque addresses issues of Muslims living in the contemporary USA. The survival kit contains elements for self protection such as the American-flag façade that communicates patriotism, gas-masque, nose filters and an umbrella that surveys one’s back. The mosque is self-sufficient; the prayer rug is supplying its own energy source via photo-voltaic solar cells. It also carries different liturgical and practical features such as washing solution for ablution and for cleaning when a Muslim get spit on, ear plugs against insults, American constitution proofing rights of American Muslims, weapons and amulets, a loud-speaker with speech on tolerance held by President George W. Bush, ablution slippers, Quran, educative books and diverse communication devices. The Survival Mosque can be transformed and camouflaged into interactive bags, which communicate with each other via blue-tooth technology. The bag-speakers reflect paranoia spreading messages regarding terrorism, but they can also function as muezzins; calling for prayer at particular prayer times. Informed by problems many Muslim communities in the USA have been facing after September 11, as well as inspired by the existing flag-burkas developed during protests in France, the design of the Survival Mosque is intended as protective infrastructure. However, the overload of defensive mechanisms transforms the image of a worshiper into a militant figure. Survival Mosque challenges the way how diverse prejudices and fears to Muslims could be reversed.

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