29 May 2020 until 20 June 2021
Syria 2087
Fossils of the Future

What if the Syrian population were to emigrate to Mars? What would they take with them? How would they remember a culture that had lost its home, its objects, and its everyday rituals through destruction and flight? The Polish-Syrian designer Anna Banout (b. 1993) takes the 1987 space flight of the first Syrian cosmonaut, Mohamed Ahmed Faris, as the starting point for an experiment: She imagines how in 100 years, the tradition and culture of Syria arrives on the planet Mars – where there actually happens to be an area named Syria Planum, which has long fascinated Banout. In the exhibition Syria 2087, she creates a kind of “memory box” of the future with souvenir objects in which the cultural identity of Syria lives on while at the same time the whole new world of life in space and on Mars is recorded as the community’s most recent experience. Banout is creating especially for the exhibition objects that contain deep historical layers, narratives, and practices from contemporary Syrian culture and also incorporate the planet Mars into their design through mythical and fictional motifs. Like the elements of a stage setting, they can be freely combined to enable the culture of remembrance to be experienced and passed on through these few objects, like a sort of “cultural heritage to go”. She juxtaposes these objects with Syrian cultural exhibits from the MKG collection. In Syria 2087, Anna Banout thus devises by means of speculative design a way of conjoining her own culture with the identity-defining experiences of a new beginning.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Polnisches Institut Berlin.

Anna Banout (*1993), Object Cosmos Syria 2087, © Kinga Budnik/Anna Banout