Growing up in Kuwait close to an oil refinery by the sea, the artist would create stories for the distant petroleum operation while passing by on a traffic bridge. As she envisioned an expansive panorama of lights, fire, smoke, and towers, Al Qadiri imagined it was a city-metropolis—"filled with beings and phantoms from another world.” This dream-like film hearkens back to these childhood memories, fusing eerie, slow views of a reconstructed miniature refinery with lines from poems about city lights and industrial landscapes. Crude Eye blurs reality with speculative memory, and we are unable to tell if the scene is a real place or a fantasy. The artist says: “The work attempts to reconcile a sense of childlike wonder with the toxic environmental destruction that the refinery inherently represents.”
Commissioned by Blaffer Art Museum and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston.
Miniature model: Anika Klatt; Cinematography: Karam Ghoussein; Editing: Vartan Avakian; Music: Fatima Al Qadiri; Sound design: James Kelly; Coloring: Chrystel Elias