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In architectural discourse surrounding the Arabian Gulf, the desert is often overlooked as a contrasting backdrop to the region’s oil-fueled cities. Space Wars challenges the view of the desert as a wasteland by bringing together the perspectives of architects, artists, ecologists, cartographers, and more to shed light on a complex landscape that is host to critical operations for the development of sovereign states. Moving across scales and time, Kuwait’s hinterland serves as the critical lens to look at the region’s past traumas, current struggles, and possible futures.
As a collective, Yousef, Asaiel, Saphiya and Aseel curated the National Pavilion of Kuwait at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021. They have lectured at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design on "Deserts and Abstraction," Kuwait University, and Cornell University as part of the Preston H. Thomas Memorial Lecture Series "Into the Desert: Questions of Coloniality and Toxicity." Their work was most recently included in Deserts Are Not Empty published by Columbia University Press and the Journal of Architectural Education 77:2 Deserts.
Yousef Awaad Hussein is an architect and urban planner. He holds a Master in Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a BSc in Architecture from McGill University. Yousef is a Penny White Project Fund recipient and was awarded the CGA’s Howard T. Fisher Prize for his project titled "Territory, Survey, Cartography." His work has been published at the ISOCARP World Planning Congress, the Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, and Wallpaper Magazine.
Asaiel Al Saeed is an architect who obtained her professional Bachelor of Architecture from Kuwait University. Her research interests focus on the development and regression of traditional agricultural practices in relation to resource heritage and modern history. Her work was selected for the Kuwait Youth Excellence Award in Architecture, Planning, and Housing by the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs.
Saphiya Abu Al-Maati is an architect and researcher interested in the intersection of policy, conflict, and the built environment. She obtained her Master of Architecture from Columbia University and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley. Saphiya was awarded the Science Po and KFAS grant for ‘On the Stakes of War and Peace: Diplomacy, Anthropology, Climate, and Conflict’. Her research has been included at the UNESCO World Heritage Conference (Bahrain) and the IASTE (Portugal).
Aseel AlYaqoub is an artist, researcher, and writer based in Kuwait. She holds an MFA from Pratt Institute in New York and a BA from Chelsea College of Art in London. Her work is included in publications such as Architecture of the Territory, edited by Collective for Architecture, and Laura Hindelang’s Iridescent Kuwait: Petro-Modernity and Urban Visual Culture Since the Mid-Twentieth Century. Her work can also be found in permanent collections, including the Barjeel Art Foundation and the Art Jameel Collection.
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