Salwa Alkhudairi

MArch II

The Trojan Cinema

Advised by Mack Scogin

In 1956, the premier of the film Helen of Troy took place in the newly finished building complex of Al Khayam: a 1,500-seat cinema engulfed by a hotel located in Baghdad, Iraq. The opening of the cinema happened to fall at a time when the tale-based film had just recently come out; it was perhaps an innocent choice that fortuitously predicted the Trojan horse-like quality of the architectural vessel. The theater’s witnessing of and adaptation to political events has revealed its double consciousness; it at once houses a spectacle and is one itself. “To be afflicted with confabulation is to be of two minds, to be in two places at once, to experience, counterfactually, simultaneous irreconcilable truths,” write Paul Emmons and Luc Phinney in Confabulation: Storytelling and Architecture. By examining and utilizing the relationship between storytelling/myth and the sustainment of place/architecture, this project attempts to create a cinema of convalescence: a space of celebration of the abject through incantation. The confabulated space is presented through analogical layering, creating, and engendering an epic of sailing shadows.

Black and white stark image