Challenging Terrain

2023 - Multimedia artwork and exhibition. Reykjavik, Iceland

Challenging Terrain is an interdisciplinary project that combines art, music, and artificial intelligence. It highlights personal stories of people seeking asylum who are forced to navigate life’s most challenging terrains as they seek safety, refuge, and a better future. As countries grapple with migration and laws become more stringent, the voices of those most affected often remain unheard, reduced to statistics and stereotypes. The project’s two components, "A Missing Camera" & "Transcreation", offer an alternative way of seeing and hearing personal stories often lost in legal and political discussions.

“A Missing Camera” employs AI technology to create images that emulate the aesthetics of documentary photography. Drawing upon real stories of individuals caught in the asylum-seeking system in Iceland, particular moments within these testimonies were analyzed and transmuted into visual documentation. These moments, where a camera was missing to be captured, become an act of reclamation, where the absence of a camera during these pivotal moments paradoxically becomes the catalyst for their artistic representation.

Another transformation occurred when the written testimonies were transformed into musical compositions by developing an algorithm that translates alphabetic characters into corresponding musical notes. These notes were the foundation for ten unique musical pieces, each inspired by a specific AI-generated image representing its story. Although each piece is composed autonomously, they are designed to harmonize when played together, creating a single, unified work.

In collaboration with:
Musician, Samer Saem Eldahr (Hello Psychaleppo)
Coder, Fareed Barakeh
The Nordic House in Reykjavík