Interdisciplinary in approach, this volume explores and deciphers the symbolic value and iconicity of the built environment in the Arab Gulf Region, its aesthetics, language and performative characteristics. Bringing together a range of studies by artists, curators and scholars, it demonstrates how Dubai appeared - at least until the financial crisis - to be leading the construction race and has already completed a large number of its landmark architecture and strategic facilities. In contrast, cities like the Qatari capital Doha still appear to be heavily ’under construction’ and in countries like the Sultanate of Oman, ultra-luxury tourism projects were started only recently. While the construction of artificial islands, theme parks and prestige sport facilities has attracted considerable attention, much less is known about the region’s widespread implementation of innovative infrastructure such as global container ports, free zones, inter-island causeways and metro lines. This volume argues that these endeavours are not simply part of a strategy to prepare for the post-oil era for future economic survival and prosperity in the Lower Gulf region, but that they are also aiming to strengthen identitarian patterns and specific national brands. In doing so, they exhibit similar, yet remarkably diverse modes of engaging with certain global trends and present - questionably - distinct ideas for putting themselves on the global map. Each country aims to grab attention with regard to the world-wide flow of goods and capital and thus provide its own citizens with a socially acceptable trajectory for the future. By doing that, the countries in the Gulf are articulating a new semiotic and paradigm of urban development. For the first time, this volume maps these trends in their relation to architecture and infrastructure, in particular by treating them as semiotics in their own right. It suggests that recent developments in this region of the world not only represen
Contents: Foreword, Ulrike Freitag; The Arab(ian) Gulf: urban development in the making, Katrin Bromber, Birgit Krawietz, Christian Steiner and Steffen Wippel. Part I The Politics and Economy of Infrastructure and Architecture: Iconic spaces, symbolic capital and the political economy of urban development in the Arab Gulf, Christian Steiner; The role of 'lavish construction schemes' in 'late-late-late' developing societies: the case of the Arab Gulf States, Martin Hvidt; Masdar City: a critical retrospection, Boris Brorman Jensen; Tourism and urbanization in Oman: sustainable and socially inclusive?, Sonja Nebel; Off and running: Qatar brands for FIFA World Cup, and life beyond, Nadine Scharfenort. Part II Images and Iconic Brands: Constructing Markets and Identity: Promise and reality in Dubai's architectural design, Felix Sommerlad; Port and tourism development in Oman: between economic diversification and global branding, Steffen Wippel; The sporting way: sport as branding strategy in the Gulf States, Katrin Bromber; Falconry as a cultural icon of the Arab Gulf region, Birgit Krawietz; '1,001 places to see before you die': constructing Oriental holiday worlds in European guide books - the example of Dubai, Nicolai Scherle and Mikael Jonasson. Part III Art Production and Exhibitions: A Critical Engagement with Urban Developments: Dubai: telegenic fantasies, George Katodrytis; Model toy city, George Katodrytis; The cultural imperative: Saadiyat cultural district in Abu Dhabi between public policy and architectural gesture, Brigitte Dumortier; The Louvre Abu Dhabi: utopia as reality, Bruno Maquart; A vision becomes an institution: the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha, Qatar, Joachim Gierlichs; Universalism in art and the art of universalism: thoughts on the 'globalization' of the art system, taking the United Arab Emirates as example, Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann (edited, revised and supplemented for publication by Katrin Bromber, Birgit Krawietz, Christian Steiner and Steffen Wippel); Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann: artwork Dubai I and Dubai II, Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann (edited, revised and supplemented for publication by Katrin Bromber, Birgit Krawietz, Christian Steiner and Steffen Wippel); Stefan Zirwes: how real is reality? Katrin Bromber, Birgit Krawietz, Christian Steiner and Steffen Wippel. Part IV Dubai-Style Elsewhere: Plagiarizing or Transforming the Gulf Model: Modes of urban diffusion: culture, politics and the impact of the recent urban developments in the Arabian Gulf cities on Cairo's Vision 2050, Khaled Adham; Global waterfronts in the Maghreb: a mere replication of Dubai? Case studies from Morocco and Tunisia, Pierre-Arnaud Barthel; Dubai on Barada? The making of 'globalized Damascus' in times of urban crisis, Leila Vignal; Seeing Dubai in Khartoum and Nouakchott: 'Gulfication' on the margins of the Arab world, Armelle Choplin and Alice Franck. Index.