Conference Publication Details
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Khajavi, MJ
From Alhambra to Digital Projection: Designing a Digital Media Cultural Heritage Project Based on the Transformative Qualities of Islamic Calligraphy
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This paper traces how the design of a new media cultural heritage project was inspired by the transformative qualities found in many specimens of Islamic calligraphy. As certain scholars have pointed out, Islamic art is filled with examples of letters and words that appear to transform into things other than text. Indeed, such transformative qualities can be seen across the Islamic world and on a diverse range of artefacts, including the epigraphs on the walls of the Alhambra palace and the religious texts on Ottoman Turkish scrolls written in ghubar (which literary means "dust" in Arabic) script. In this paper, the author outlines two broad types of transformative qualities that can be distinguished in many specimens of Islamic calligraphic art, namely, the metamorphosis of the form and the transformation of the function of the letters and words. The paper then demonstrates how, inspired by such transformative qualities, the designers of a cultural heritage project created a calligraphic installation for museums and galleries in which letters are transformed from text to image and vice versa. Using a projection mapping system, words are transformed into images devoid of any semantic meaning, and then revert back into readable text again. Finally, the paper investigates how the transformation of the function of calligraphy renders readability a transitory process in this artwork, and how the technique used in the creation of this artwork can be applied to cultural heritage sites as an educational and entertainment tool.
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