Parachute

In 2011 I took the parachute to a few different locations in Oman. The parachute became a metaphor for an external drive; dropped somewhere in order for it to be considered by the place it landed in. Where did it come from? Is it a vehicle for hope or an abandoned vehicle? These were just some of the questions I asked myself while making this work.

I wanted to explore how the parachute interacted with internal landscapes of tradition – historic sites that occupy an important place in the culture and heritage of Oman, yet also embody the identity of a people. The locations were particularly important, as they each signified an area of Oman that is changing. These sites each hark to an historic past, as well as a dead past: There is Muttrah, an area behind the market, which used to be the centre for trade but is now only used to store goods; Tawaqa Tower used to be an important bastion in protecting the area’s waters but is now irrelevant and left in ruin. Tanuf was bombed by the prior King in 1959 due to regional politics, and the wadis are iconic landscapes of the Gulf.

These places are all part of our cultural DNA – they have been there long before I was born and have witnessed much of the changing face of Oman in their lifetime, When I placed the parachute in each of them, I wanted to explore how this intervention would interact with each site – would it feel like an enhancement, or as if a foreign, alien body had landed? In other places, such as the souq, or the abandoned tower, the falling parachute felt like a new moment, creating a sense of presence in the historic site. The parachute took on a metaphor, one of survival, flitting gracefully, draping itself, at once forlorn, reflecting all that we have forgotten and all that once was, as well as providing something new – injecting a feeling of life, of movement and, strangely, linking the past with the now.