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2019 Artists-in-Labs Residency Exchange

We are proud to introduce the sixth artist who has participated in the artists-in-labs KAUST-Swiss Residency Exchange, Nasser Al-Salem. The Jeddah-based artist has worked and exchanged with researchers of the Complex Materials Group, Department of Materials, ETH Zürich until June 2019. His transdisciplinary residency is a concept of and organized by the leading art and science program artists-in-labs program of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK).

A video with interviews on Nasser’s exchange and work will be shared with the KAUST community at a later point. 

The 2019 artists-in-labs KAUST-Swiss Residency Exchange is supported by KAUST, The Office of Enrichment Programs, and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. Follow the Enrichment Office on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to stay tuned on Nasser’s journey and more cultural and artistic activities organized by the Enrichment Office.  

About the Artist

   Nasser Al-Salem (*1984) lives and works in Jeddah. His artistic work is essentially the Arabic written word; therefore, he is first and foremost a calligrapher. His practice pushes the boundaries of this age-old Islamic art by re-inventing it in non-conventional mixed-media forms, by using a wide range of tools and materials - such as wood, paper, ink, concrete, glass, lighting technology, or silk - and by exploring its conceptual potential. Since his childhood, he has been asking what is the size of a human being in relation to the outer space, what are the parameters of this relationship, and how can humans recognize it. These questions still preoccupy him today, and he is attempting to address them throughout his practice.

Nasser Al-Salem believes that when we turn our attention to understanding this relationship and gain a more in-depth insight into the nature we all are part of, we might live differently. His exploration of concepts relates to scale, the human, and the infinite (or our current perception of the infinite). These concepts aim to reflect on the condition of time, space, and the universe as a system that is beyond all religious and profane components.

Nasser has been nominated for the Prudential Eye Awards 2015 and was artist-in-residence in New York in 2018 and London in 2014. In 2018, the artist’s work was a part of The Royal Commission of Al-Ula’s and was exhibited at the Winter at Tantora Festival in Saudi Arabia.





Interconnecting Arts, Culture, and Science - The KAUST Enrichment Office 

Art and culture are a source of inspiration for innovative science and vice versa. Immersing oneself inside the creative world of an artist, listening to music, or merely experiencing something different than the ordinary can result in creative new scientific ideas. The Enrichment Office has organized more than 580 cultural events and invited more than 220 artists to KAUST since 2010, as part of the Office of Enrichment Program’s mission to educate, inspire and enrich the KAUST students, community, the Kingdom and the world. 

About the artists-in-labs program (AIL)

Since 2003, the AIL has been facilitating artistic research by way of long-term residencies for artists in scientific laboratories and research institutes, not just in Switzerland but all around the world. These long-term interdisciplinary and cross-border collaborations provide artists with an opportunity to critically engage with the sciences and their experimental and aesthetic dimensions. This includes explorations of the site of the laboratory, as well as a range of scientific topics, methods, and technologies. Publications and short films document and reflect the processes and findings of the residencies.

All the collaborations the AIL produces are presented at various national and international exhibitions, symposia and workshops, making it possible to share findings and ideas, and to provide accessible discussions and aesthetic experiences to our students, peers and to the public.

www.nasseralsalem.com // www.mat.ethz.ch // www.complex.mat.ethz.ch // www.artistsinlabs.ch/en // www.zhdk.ch/en // www.prohelvetia.ch/en // www.enrichment.kaust.edu.sa