A Drive Across Amman: Observations


Illustration by Daby Ihsan Faidhy

Illustration by Daby Ihsan Faidhy

Written by Dina Khawaldeh, Interruptions

It was a clear day. A screen in front of me was merely shining with the red numbers that are gradually increasing as the music of Fairuz rose across, the play of sunbeams and clouds created a general fuzziness that gave way to the particles forming patterns; Ones that I have perceived for the first time; and relapsed to its definition immediately.  Throughout this adverse encounter, I was left mesmerized and ironically confused by the construction axis that constitute these series of perspective shots that are made up of diverse vanishing points, each independently projected however intertwined. All towards that certain focal point where the entire image is reflected, projected, and determinately formed. Stuck in a paradox of reality within the virtual zone, and fettered by a crossroad of exploration; to establish my long lost definition of the ‘Real’.

Shuttling around the taxi, I went from one sophisticated urban reflection to another. Along the way, the unbuilt plots of land gave a pattern of a felicitous encounter of the streets, buildings and the people. That is being transformed into different reflections of reality, with only one overwhelmed perception that conceived the observer to what we were meant to perceive. In a hub that is congested with virtual reflections that can seamlessly be real; yet never highlighted. There were so many of them that the city barely has a definable center; being more like a hub of networks linking those different encounters using pure manifestation of power. Crazy collages of styles desperately trying to invent some kind of cultural authenticity that Amman itself had already gone way beyond. All the contradiction and the paradoxes apparently met under these particle formed patterns.

I fell into conversation with the taxi driver, a significant member of an audience of observers that are merely participants. The ones that have come with a reality to observe and be observed. All fettered within their charismatic dilemma. To question the true definition of a reflection; taking me back to simple physics where the actual/real image is formed up-side-down at the back of a mirror yet we see it upright. But if reality lies at the back of that silver layer, where all the sight lines gather in one point and reflected back, is this veracity a mere reflection of a virtual medium that alludes?…..and  Amman, I wondered, does it have a reality. Even the city had turned into a vast construction site of inimitable forces of the society. And the culture was apparently no obstacle to the economical moguls to forge its way through. Correspondingly confined with this predetermined path.  The one of exuberance, glamor and chic architecture, luxury, towers, consumerism, and the excess. All consuming the energy with which it builds the future…but are we turning into a city that is living for its future?

At this point, there was no way to gauge my location or speed, or even the fact that I was stuck in the traffic jam, I decided to get out and walk. I headed away from the street and the billboard edifices of what is yet to come and began strolling through the stretches that lead me home .it is there where I got saturated from the city, where the humane and yet spontaneous reflections were perceived. It is there where I found the back of that mirror that is a
paradoxical definition of a virtually fake image but a cohesively REAL perception. It is there where I found Amman.

I got home…turned the TV on and dove into a screen foxed with pixels, tiny modules of reality, that are never perceived but make up the real animation. Whether we chose to see it or not; and decide on dreaming the Utopian dream. With the sight lines engraved at the back of my head in the form of an inevitable question of where it is heading and how it would be portrayed… a question that only time would articulate….




  • specsan

    Umm, Amman, consumerist? Glamour? Chic Architecture? A few buildings here and there that can be decribed as such do not constitute a generalization for the whole city. The description is more applicable to Dubai.
    Let's think financing the reality you describe. Constructing such a built reality would heavily rely on a Capitalist set-up: the Wall street setup. Or the one operative till the credit crunch happened. So this financial setup burst last year. Projects were halted worldwide. Our dear Dubai went out of its closet in the last weeks. But then did it affect Amman's “chic architecture”? Well there were a few rumors here and there about Abdali projects going bankrupt (only for Jordan Business to go into the site and report on projects still underway). And Abdali is still a small part of the city. Once fully constructed & open to the public, I anticipate that it would be the ONLY part of the city that would lie within your decription above.

    Amman has its own authentic distinctive character and its version of the Real. Amman's Real is:
    - The collective an eclectic character of streets like Zahran, where the Royal house meets a Sheraton in an Ammani version: clad with stone & not very high a hotel bldg.
    - The persistent juxtaposition of rows of buildings, as cubes that climb on the Jabals and nest its top, creating a distinctive skyline.
    - The pale green of trees, scant here and there, strugggling amidst a uniform sandy backdrop of concrete.

    Amman's architectural scene may not be a thriller of a reality where the virtual and the reality that you describe have blurry boundaries, but as an urban setting, which is the product of a collective of social, political, architectural, performative mix, its disinctive an authentic as virtual reality can never be.

  • specsan

    Umm, Amman, consumerist? Glamour? Chic Architecture? A few buildings here and there that can be decribed as such do not constitute a generalization for the whole city. The description is more applicable to Dubai.
    Let's think financing the reality you describe. Constructing such a built reality would heavily rely on a Capitalist set-up: the Wall street setup. Or the one operative till the credit crunch happened. So this financial setup burst last year. Projects were halted worldwide. Our dear Dubai went out of its closet in the last weeks. But then did it affect Amman's “chic architecture”? Well there were a few rumors here and there about Abdali projects going bankrupt (only for Jordan Business to go into the site and report on projects still underway). And Abdali is still a small part of the city. Once fully constructed & open to the public, I anticipate that it would be the ONLY part of the city that would lie within your decription above.

    Amman has its own authentic distinctive character and its version of the Real. Amman's Real is:
    - The collective an eclectic character of streets like Zahran, where the Royal house meets a Sheraton in an Ammani version: clad with stone & not very high a hotel bldg.
    - The persistent juxtaposition of rows of buildings, as cubes that climb on the Jabals and nest its top, creating a distinctive skyline.
    - The pale green of trees, scant here and there, strugggling amidst a uniform sandy backdrop of concrete.

    Amman's architectural scene may not be a thriller of a reality where the virtual and the reality that you describe have blurry boundaries, but as an urban setting, which is the product of a collective of social, political, architectural, performative mix, its disinctive an authentic as virtual reality can never be.

  • http://nynotions.blogspot.com Sandra Hiari
  • http://nynotions.blogspot.com Sandra Hiari

    Umm, Amman, consumerist? Glamour? Chic Architecture? A few buildings here and there that can be decribed as such do not constitute a generalization for the whole city. The description is more applicable to Dubai.
    Let's think financing the reality you describe. Constructing such a built reality would heavily rely on a Capitalist set-up: the Wall street setup. Or the one operative till the credit crunch happened. So this financial setup burst last year. Projects were halted worldwide. Our dear Dubai went out of its closet in the last weeks. But then did it affect Amman's “chic architecture”? Well there were a few rumors here and there about Abdali projects going bankrupt (only for Jordan Business to go into the site and report on projects still underway). And Abdali is still a small part of the city. Once fully constructed & open to the public, I anticipate that it would be the ONLY part of the city that would lie within your decription above.

    Amman has its own authentic distinctive character and its version of the Real. Amman's Real is:
    - The collective an eclectic character of streets like Zahran, where the Royal house meets a Sheraton in an Ammani version: clad with stone & not very high a hotel bldg.
    - The persistent juxtaposition of rows of buildings, as cubes that climb on the Jabals and nest its top, creating a distinctive skyline.
    - The pale green of trees, scant here and there, strugggling amidst a uniform sandy backdrop of concrete.

    Amman's architectural scene may not be a thriller of a reality where the virtual and the reality that you describe have blurry boundaries, but as an urban setting, which is the product of a collective of social, political, architectural, performative mix, its disinctive an authentic as virtual reality can never be.

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