Manar Moursi

The Wonderbox project was a contemporary revival of the culturally extinct Egyptian theater box storytelling
tradition. Commissioned by Mahatat for Contemporary Art, the project was a collaboration between 9 artists
of different backgrounds. Together we worked on the design and construction of two boxes that were brought to life
in a month-long series of live performances which traveled throughout Cairo. I was responsible for the design and
construction of the two boxes. The first sandook's design was inspired by the mirrored Islamic patterns of mosques
in Iran and small grocery shops in Cairo. Seeing that mirrors were also employed as animation tools in the
praxinscope-like techniques used inside the traditional boxes, it was decided that mirrors in an Islamic pattern
would be projected on a geodesic sphere. The form of a sphere was employed because of its purity and the desire to
connect visually to magic crystal and disco balls. The sphere was built as two geodesic domes that fit perfectly
onto each other and these domes were further broken into 2 types of triangles that were attached together by joints
that could be connected and disconnected. For the second sandook, the form was derived from the ice cream carts
that one sees regularly around Cairo. The ice cream cart fulfilled both functional (size of projection screen)
and aesthetic requirements as it was meant to disarm the viewer who would be called at by its everyday familiar
sight with a slightly different palette of colors and form only to discover a whole set of digital wonders to be
experienced by peeping through its holes.

Project Team: Manar Moursi, Aida El Kashef, Yasmin Elayat, Laila El Balouty, Maya Gowaily, Mohamed Hasan,
Ahmed Mostafa, Shadi El Husseiny, Abdallah Abu Zekry