Manar Moursi

Hello! I’m a Kuwait-born Egyptian researcher, architect and artist, currently between places geographically - mostly between Cairo, Montreal and Cambridge. I love making things and writing, especially in collaboration.

In 2011, I started a practice in Cairo and called it Studio Meem. Studio Meem was a space for me to work with different artists, designers, writers and makers under a common rubric. In different collaborative constellations, I worked on architecture projects in Kuwait, landscape and urban projects in Cairo, architectural competitions and product design lines. I also worked on public art projects, as well as an artist book and video works related to the artist book.

In 2016, I relocated to Toronto where I taught architecture at the Universities of Waterloo and Toronto. While in Toronto, I worked on developing my artistic practice. My practice focuses on unpredictable configurations and improvised interventions in cities, which often lie within broader networks of unauthorized systems. My research considers how built environments can convey alternative operating models that contradict their assumed function, which in turn reveals the societal needs and obstacles of affected residents and larger communities. Aptly, these structural examples possess a duality in both form and purpose, revealing and answering to the localized tensions related to property, class, gender, and voice. I am often guided in my making with a sensitivity and curiosity to sound and light, tactility and sensory experiences. Accordingly, I work with multiple media: artist book, installation, and video installation as well as sculpture. Lately, I am also interested in considering the personal as political and using my own body and personal history in performance and video works which also consider unequal power relationships. Playfulness with language and text is also a running thread in my work.

I’m concurrently working on my PhD at MIT in the History, Theory and Criticism of art and architecture group, while maintaining my artistic practice. My research interests include: affect and feminist theory, new materialism, sensory atmospheres and decolonization.

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