ALULA / SAUDI ARABIA
What does a country that was locked up from the outer world until recently even look like? Did a moment of radical changes just enter the timelessness of a conservative society? I was curious to see for myself, as I too went through a similar transformation from a closed Socialist system to an open society in the last 30 years. However, little did I know that meeting with the raw physicality of the desert will be a far more fascinating and graspable experience for me.
It all started by a sand storm, causing the plane to turn around and wait after not being able to land on several attempts. And then I started discovering the desert itself: a storage for everything rejected, conserved in it and remaining untouched. Every second I was stumbling upon an object from a long gone or recent past: animal bones, parts of cars, furniture, footprint, fragments of drawings, maps and texts, that were peeking out of the sand, as if without rusting, unweathered, still intact.
At the periphery of Al Ula I've discovered objects barely affected by time, laying next to each other. But - on the background of the futuristic architecture I've also encountered scenes which seemed like a dystopic future of humankind somewhere on an inhospitable land of another planet.
Maps engraved into the thousand year old sandstones were subsetting with yesterday's graffiti. Abandoned objects in the desert transformed into a future archaeological warehouse, into a future memory.