Gear, electronic stuff and immersive technology
In Her Own Words
Everything is always perfect in a Gallery. It’s cool when you break that. I like when exhibitions, or gallery spaces don’t feel like galleries anymore. When Sajjad Abbas and Laith K. Daer came to the Gallery in 2017, and put a burned-out car in the middle of space. That was awesome. It’s this kind of thing that plays with your mind.
In Doha, we’re based on communities that are completely different from each other, but with their very own expectations. It made me freer when it comes to what I want to talk about, even how I present my identity. The culture is growing so much, here when it comes to the art scene, we’re pioneers; because whatever we’re doing, we’re adding to that this culture.
Hadeer Omar is an Egyptian time-based media artist, designer, and educator, living in Qatar. She holds an MFA in Design and BFA in Graphic Design. Her work explores cultural identity and memories, the self, and narratives artfully through immersive XR media and technologies, graphics, photography, and video art installations. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor at VCUarts in Qatar, and was an artist in residence at Doha Fire Station program in Qatar.
Her work has been showcased in Egypt, Qatar, San Francisco, Austria, Bulgaria, Dubai, and Berlin. Her 3arabizi keyboard project was given an honorary mention at the STARTS Prize – Grand prize of the European Commission, honoring Innovation in Technology, Industry, and Society Stimulated by the Arts (2017), Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria. The project was showcased at Drive: Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin, Germany (2017).
She directed the ‘Ouda W Sala’ documentary short film (2011), ‘Hack you video art’ at Cairo video festival and ‘Roznama’ (2015), ‘Chaos Antidote’ experimental documentary short film (2017) screened at Facade Video Festival, Bulgaria and Ajyal Youth Film Festival, Qatar (2017), ‘The reason’ July 2017,
Hadeer Omar has worked as a DOP on several short films. She served as one of the co-chairs for Tasmeem Doha Art and Design Conference 2019.
In Conversation with Hadeer
How do you define yourself?
It’s been an interesting ride trying to kind of label myself, but at the same time, I prefer not trying and find a niche for myself, instead. I found I have an interest in making imagery and telling stories in all sorts of ways, either with photography, with film or other mediums. It should always go back to the story, and what you want to say.
Has your actual context contributed to that?
In Doha, we’re based on communities that are completely different from each other, but with their very own expectations. It made me freer when it comes to what I want to talk about, even how I present my identity. The culture is growing so much here, when it comes to the art scene, we’re pioneers; because whatever we’re doing, we’re adding to that this culture.
What is your key factor to turn the inspiration button on?
I usually get inspired from the people around me. If people are giving lots of clues and “material”, this is when I start producing and filming more. I don’t get inspired when I’m alone, because there’s nothing to get inspired from.
Can you give us an example?
Ok, you want to show me your space. This, by itself, will introduce me to a world I didn’t even know existed. So, I’ll get inspired by either your relationship with yourself, your life or maybe something else that will trigger me to produce something.
But, what would be interesting in that?
There are so many details that I would be very curious about. But for me, witnessing myself and/or observing myself is boring. It’s always great to have that other person to reflect on, and be like my case study.
In your recent projects, you have been keen to experiment with new tools to introduce the audience to new ideas and possibilities.
I’m interested in immersive technologies because it kind of blurs the line between what’s real and what’s not. It makes the audience part of the experience, not just the receiver. I like the collectiveness that is people all in one place getting to feel something together, and each one of them reacting to it in a completely different way. Yeah, it’s definitely about the human connection.
This connection is not only with the audience, but also within many of your collaborations.
I collaborate a lot with people, even if I’m not collaborating! I’m always asking people for help, even if I’m not collaborating directly with them. It makes you think of your work in a completely different way and shifts your perspective. For me, it changes the way I look at projects, how I manage them but also how I can let an idea go, or trust another person.
Would you say that collaborations can be challenging?
I have to respect differences that I didn’t care that much about, before. To not be naive, like thinking people would adapt themselves to you, or they will try to figure out what you are doing. You can see it as a positive thing, not a negative thing, and build over it. Remind yourself, that it’s always about adaptation.
Do you have a rule that you design or create by?
Get some ethics. Just be a curious human being; and have some ethics when it comes to making, and be true to yourself when it comes to the narrative. Ethics is like being a good human, trying to be not biased and even if you are biased, be fair to everyone. Respect the others and don’t create more problems. What I try to do is raise questions that bring people in and make them start a dialogue, instead of making people become more separated.
Lastly, any recommendation about alumna or alumnus from Doha to follow?
Najla Al-Thani. She’s a fashion designer, and she’s interested in using biomaterial. I enjoy seeing her working and making something out of material that we ignore. She takes from nothing and she creates something; artwork, gowns and more.
Bouthayna Al-Muftah. I like what she’s doing an Instagram. She’s being part of her artwork, and it becomes part of the journey. I just want to jump into her world to know more.
Hadeer Omar, 'The Weathered Tower 360 Film'
Hadeer Omar, '360 Showreel'
Crossing Boundaries Lecture
The RAW Talent