Gulf Futurism UP145

Gulf Futurism is a term coined by Sophia Al Maria to explain an existing phenomenon she has observed in architecture, urban planning, art, aesthetics and popular culture in the post-oil Persian Gulf.

Sharing some qualities with 20th century movements like Futurism, Gulf Futurism is evident in the agenda of the dominant class of this region, concerned with master planning and world building, and with a local youth culture that exhibits an asset bubble fuelled sense of entitlement and is preoccupied with fast cars and fast technology.

The Arabian Gulf is a region that has been hyper-driven into a present made up of interior wastelands, municipal master plans and environmental collapse, thus making it a projection of a global future."

The themes and ideas present in Gulf Futurism include the isolation of individuals via technology, wealth and reactionary Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism on the soul and industry on the earth, the replacement of history with glorified heritage fantasy in the collective memory and in many cases, the erasure of existing physical surroundings.

Informed by texts such as Baudrillard’s The Illusion of the End, As-Sufi’s Islamic Book of the Dead and Žižek’s Welcome to the Desert of the Real, Gulf Futurism also uses imagery from Islamic eschatology, corporate ideology, posthumanism and the global mythos of Science Fiction