How I knew how my brain works!

This relates to a previous post about the creative process I am following. I had to speak about the intangibility and the spherical approach creative individuals may have.... and how can that be reflected in academic research in art and design... 

It started with an epiphany inside London Tube.... 

Suddenly it was all clear to me...

 

So this was articulated through a map using the same graphical language of London Underground map... This has helped me a lot in demonstrating the multiple layers of the thinking process behind my research without flattening its complexity... 

The result is... 

P.S. Please check the post titled "Mind Maps and Process..." for more insights about how it started... 

A Geometry Retreat

In the beginning of October I was on a study trip for Islamic geometry to Fez, Morocco. The trip was inspiring on many levels; academic, personal and spiritual. 

I have been recording my observations, reflections in a visual diary in an attempt to document not only the charm of the old city of Fez, but also the collective charm of the people who shared with me this experience. 

I came to realize even though I felt guilty for taking myself away from research mode for a week (spoken like a true workaholic), it connected me to a world that I have read and spoken about, without being fully immersed in. I would definitely do it again if I had the chance. 

Below is a short clip about the trip... credit to Cat Wilson, one of the beautiful souls I met in Fez... 

 

Inside the world of Ibn Arabi

 
 

It was on one April weekend in a quite area in London when I was introduced to the world of Ibn Arabi, and ever since I have been a person with a different view of the world than before. 

It was a casual setting; the room has cushions and lanterns around the corners... Amber infusions fill the space while the room softly soak in the daylight from outside... 

The reading group consisted of 8 people coming from different walks of life... It was intimate, and that was necessary as it spread along two full days of reading the Introduction of the Metaphysics of Ibn Arabi's Unity of Being. Some were coming for their second or third time to the reading session, and some like me, were walking into this vast world for the first time. 

As an artist-in-research, it was essential to delve into the world of Ibn Arabi and understand his premises as “first-hand” user of his knowledge. Ibn Arabi, "named the Great Scholar", was considered one of the main scholars in Islam who combined strands of knowledge in metaphysics, cosmology, philosophy in Islamic doctrines. Thus, it was important to understand the essence of his philosophy that was the main inspirational source for Islamic creative concepts in order to know how to expand it... and be inspired by it..

Much of what Ibn Arabi was describing feel so natural, so simple, yet very complex and layered. The reading was quite intense in the sense that it pushes intellectual boundaries to understand the Islamic philosophy of Being and Reality of the existing world. Being in a group setting helped a lot in trying to understand certain meanings and collectively analyzing parts of the text from different perspectives. 

While reading I found myself visualizing and sketching some diagrams to understand certain meanings in the text. Even with massive amount of information and findings, I found myself at ease at the end of the session. Suddenly the fast pace of everyday life slowed down and everything around me was a window to self-contemplation.

 To know more about the reading and zikr sessions visit: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/188255528207134/

 

Conversation with an Atheist

I normally tend to change where I spend my time reading or writing for my research ... Ever since I started my PhD journey, however, I got used to work in one of the independent coffee shops in Birmingham... It feels good to be part of a "micro-metropolitan" community... I got to meet people from all walks of life... 

One would probably wonder how is this related to my research; but lately I had the pleasure of having several conversations about religion with a Jew, a believer (someone who believes that there is God but chose not to choose a religion), and even an atheist. 

Although these conversations are somehow random and do not necessarily relate to my research question, they help me put things in perspective not only as Muslim, but also as a Muslim artist...

 

Although - in general terms- my religious views might probably conflict strongly with an atheist, somehow in these conversations we share a time of respect and coexistence... We all share the same "quest" to make sense of who we are and what we believe in... And the more we know about each other, the more we know about our self.

 

Call it cosmic rule...

or human connection... 

What matters is what can we find about ourselves through it...