David Kendall


In Gulf cities the rapid development of urban infrastructures transforms the built environment. In these settings electrical light sculpts new architectural landscapes, reorganises boundaries and visually erodes soon-to-be forgotten neighbourhoods erased by structural change. At night in Doha, Qatar artificial light and built environment fuse together to form fresh visual landscapes.  The afterglow of overhanging floodlights merges with fluctuating climatic conditions to guide the focal direction. Therefore, revealing or hiding the ‘seen or unseen’ in architectural sites occupied by an unsettled expatiate workforce rebuilding cityscapes. Crumbling sites become saturated and cloaked by the diffused electric light generated by 24-hour construction sites.

In addition, temporality is an important structural component; the luminosity of building sites extends beyond the foreground, projected on existing facades, walls, buildings and streets. Sensory experiences of photography juxtapose with perceptual manifestations of resettlement whilst roaming at night. Overtime construction fences and hoardings are put up and buildings taken down changing the over-illuminated landscape. In residential streets atmospheres emerge that appear to be silent yet in reality never sleep in the sky glow enveloping the biosphere. Consequently, the camera exposes traces of human occupation and precarious social infrastructures. Spaces where people rest, worship and trade in the glare of construction Thus, activating new discourse about planning processes, heritage and environmental impacts of migration, construction and infrastructure development along the Arabian Peninsula.


David Kendall’s practice explores how spatial, economic and design initiatives, as well as participatory practices, combine to encourage social and spatial interconnections or dissonance in cities. He utilises visual archives, mapping
and events to generate audio-visual and site-specific artworks. His photographs, spatial research and collaborative projects have been exhibited and presented in museums and institutes around the world, including: The British Library, London, UK, ETNOFILm, Ethnographic Museum of Istria, Rovinj, Croatia, Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Germany, Centro Cultural Manuel Gómez Morín, Querétaro, Mexicó and Tate Britain, London, UK. David Kendall is a visiting fellow within the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.


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