SAADIA MIRZA

Media Arts//Architecture//Social Science

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SENSING LANDSCAPE: TOPOLOGIES II

2018
(Virtual reality animation)

What does the underside of a map look like? What lies behind it? This topological experiment tests the limits of a radar-sensed dataset of a landscape through a series of interference patterns and fractal geometries. By borrowing techniques from scientific data analysis, the VR expresses a unique aesthetic challenge inviting the viewer to reconsider the relationship between map and image. Advised by artist Marc Downie and created in the environment Field by OpenEndedGroup.roads, culverts, agriculture and archaeological sites. Developed in consultation with Center for Ancien









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t and Middle Eastern Landscapes, University of ChicagoDeveloped in consultation with Center for Ancient and Middle Eastern Landscapes, 




SENSING LANDSCAPE: TOPOLOGIES I

2018
(multi-channel installation)

 From probability mapping to terrain analysis, this an on-going video installation project exploring the politics of cloud infrastructures, the materiality of pixels, point-cloud data, sensors, and of the images they ultimately produce. The rise of remote sensing subverts the term ‘landscape’ from an asethetic experience to a computable surface.  Presenting not the truth-value, but instead the peculiar nature of remotely-sensed data used by analysts to assess terrain and produce evidence, it focuses on the strange entanglement between aesthetics and objectivity. Currently on view with a sound collaboration by Antoni Rayzhekov at Akademie Schloss Solitude from Sept. 20th to Dec. 27th, 2018.rCurrently oads, culverts, agriculture and archaeological sites. Developed in consultation with Center for Ancient and Middle Eastern Landscapes, Univ
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MILITARIZED KANDAHAR

2017
(looped animation)

Kandahar witnessed the most intensified conflict, when the war shifted from Northeastern to Southern Afghanistan between 2004 to 2009. Aerial and satellite imagery makes traceable much of this conflict, including the complicated relationship between military infrastructure and archaeological cultural heritage.  What might be the continuing historical importance of some sites over others?What can be discerned about patterns of military building by looking at statistical and satellite imagery of the region? Computational mapping reveals a different story about the war through patterns of (im)perceptibility, a story of contested infrastuctures: roads, culverts, agriculture and archaeological sites. Developed in consultation with Center for Ancient and Middle Eastern Landscapes, University of Chicago









PLANT

2016 (Silent HD film)
Co-collaborator: Elaine Barton



This film is a foray into the dense, damp world of an aquaponics farming system  in the south of Chicago. Set in the basement of a former slaughterhouse and meatpacking facility, the film conveys the surreal and unexpected beauty of a ‘natural’ world that grows out of a fully fabricated system—from its artificial lighting to its industrial materials that replace the traditional concepts of sun, soil, land, and earth. Textures of the visually strange are brought into focus as the film grows alongside the fruits of the agriculture farm. The sounds of the environment highlight the difference between the constructed environment and its organic products. In doing so, the film also illuminates how agriculture and the concept of ‘cultivation’ always entails some form of ‘craft’ and ‘design’.entails some form of ‘craft’ and ‘design’.
etween regional politics, intercontinental infrastructure and global energy. Developed through instructional training with Pierre Bélanger’s Landscape as Infrastructure at the Harvard Graduate School of Infrastrucsure at the Harvard 







SOUTH-SIDE IMAGINARIES

2016 (HD Film)
Collaborators: Ryan Bouma, Rituparna Simlai
Collaborators: Ryan Bouma, Rituparna Simlai


The South Side of Chicago has been subject to varying notions of what “community” means in its history, starting from the sociological mapping exercises by the Chicago School of Sociology in the late 1920s to current-day gentrification West of Garfield Park.  A series of map-making interviews with locals living and working next to the Arts Block led to this short ethnographic video. Each participant drew a map of the Arts Block and the surrounding neighbourhood, showing what kinds of interventions they would like to propose in the space: how does community both empower and divide people? To what extent did the 1930s maps ultimately make a socioeconomic reality out of what started of as an invisible and possibly fictional boundary between neighbourhoods based on race? 
etween regional politics, intercontinental infrastructure and global energy. Developed through instructional training with Pierre Bélanger’s Landscape as Infrastrucsure at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Bélanger’s 





SEA AS LAND

2013
(single-channel video installation and digital maps)

Collaborators: Ryan Bouma, Rituparna Simlai

Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, five littoral countries posture to control Caspian Sea oil extraction rights. The Caspian is considered a 'special inland sea', a strategic maritime designation that enables ownership of the sea floor and the associated resources below. Overlapping claims between, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran, as well as contested pipeline infrastructure, contribute to an accelerated militarization of the sea.  Recent joint military drills between Iran and Russia, simulating defense of oil fields, caught the attention of neighboring countries, the international oil companies who own extraction rights and the governments that back them. More a disputed land than a body of water, the weaponized Caspian represents a territory of increasing convergence between regional politics, intercontinental infrastructure and global energy. Advised by Pierre Bélanger at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.