Yasser Elsheshtawy (L) and Roberto Lopardo (R)
The speakers talked about their projects for mapping Abu Dhabi. Dr Elsheshtawy's academic approach focused on the hidden-in-plain-sight world within the "super-blocks" of the city, observing and analyzing the human dynamics and public culture of "interstitial spaces", such as the bustling "square with a tree" in the middle of a block between Hamdan and Electra. Lopardo, on the other hand, extended his 24-hour picture-a-minute trek modus operandi, successfully executed in a number of other major cities (including Dubai, the result of which I remember seeing at Cuadro a long time ago), to 20 second video clips, and played a few of those clips for discussion. The third fellow, Reem Falaknaz, was unable to make it to the talk; too bad, as she was studying the mountain communities in the Northern Emirates, and would have added a rural perspective to what was otherwise an interesting, but very urban-set discussion.