Min Turab by Roger Grasas
In the last decades, the landscapes of the Arab Gulf region have undergone a mutation driven by increased income from the oil and globalization. These countries have seen a huge transformation, moving from the nomadic lifestyle of the desert Bedouins to a high-tech urban society.
Min Turab, taken from an Arabic expression that means “what comes from the earth,” is a visual investigation about how the oil –created very slowly under the earth- is capable of transforming the landscape on top of it in an accelerated way. Although this itinerary may be somehow a reminiscent of the 19th-century grand tour, in Min Turab the attention is not focused to the most popular sites of photographic pilgrimage. Instead, the areas to study point to the newest centers of urban development with an approach from the outskirts, the peripheries, and the back alleys.
This project calmly scrutinizes the exact places where landscape alteration, linked to oil as a main agent of change, has produced a sort of friction that destroys earlier visions of a place: the notions that we might have as uninformed foreign spectators, or that locals might have as they deal with landscapes transforming rapidly before their eyes—landscapes that, for the first time in history, they will outlive.