Holy Quarter begins with the story of the British explorer Harry St. John Philby, who crossed the Empty Quarter desert region in the 1930s, looking for the ruins of an ancient city. But instead of an Atlantis of the Sands, he found the remains of what he believed was a volcano, which turned out to be one of the largest impact craters formed by a meteorite.
Oman is one of the largest meteoritic impact sites, and many fossils found in the country are millions of years old. The filming locations for Holy Quarter are all situated in this region, and some of them are mythical sites. They represent a connection with the universe and the origin of the earth as well as the search for a missing empirical certainty. As one of the oldest and most untouched habitats, the desert serves as a place to search for traces of the meaning of life. Here, the work turns to the region’s past as a countermeasure to economic-political shortcomings and the contradictions between conservative structures and new technologies that are used to drive future visions of society.
Commissioned by Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020)
Film credits: Concept, direction and script: Monira Al Qadiri; Cinematography: Karam Ghossein; Production management: Yousef Bin Ali; Editor: Vartan Avakian; Music: Fatima Al Qadiri; Sound design: James Kelly; Colorist: Belal Hibri; Special thanks: Maryam Al Zadjali, Imad Ali.