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15 November, 2012

VCUQatar Professor launches The Moving Postcards Project

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Assistant Professor Simone Muscolino launches The Moving Postcards Project. Funded by a VCUQatar Faculty Research Grant, the installation will be will be presented for the first time by the Qatar Museums Authority and the Orientalist Museum at the "Art of Travel" exhibition in the ALRIWAQ DOHA Exhibition Space, located next to the Museum of Islamic Art.

The installation will be on view from 15 to 30 November, during the Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) 2012. The event is open to the public.

“The Moving Postcards Project” is an innovative endeavor that documents changing life in Doha through a developing collection of video fragments. “Moving postcards” are micro-video loops that present a space, a behavior, or an atmosphere, particular to a local environment, in this collection, that of Qatar.

Project Leader and Assistant Professor of Foundation Simone Muscolino has been working on the Moving Postcard Project since joining VCUQatar in 2010. Muscolino has produced his own videos and taught the technique to students in his Time Studio classes. Over the last five semesters, approximately 150 students, both Qatari and expatriate, have been involved in the project, and the body of work includes around 1000 Moving Postcards about Doha, Qatar. The project provides glimpses into the landscapes and customs of a country in motion through the eyes of those who know it best.

The different outcomes give relevance to the project in contemporary time based media research. The project explores short forms of video-making and storytelling; it investigates solutions in disseminating non-linear video content; it considers interaction design practices and it is based both on mobile and desktop platforms.

Doha Film Institute (DFI) is dedicating a section of the DTFF 2012 website to the Moving Postcards Project. The site will host a selection of the best content produced in the last two years, with information about the videos, the authors and a description of the project. The project will also be featured in the new DFI mobile application launched at the DTFF 2012 as part of their social engagement strategy. A map will be pinned with interesting, curious, hidden places in Doha. Every place will be visualized with a Moving Postcard and users have to find those places thereby participating in a simple game.

The installation itself, presented for the first time by the Qatar Museums Authority and the Orientalist Museum at the "Art of Travel" exhibition, will be displayed through an interactive interface with the same look-and- feel of the website. It comprises a table as an interface and 45 postcards with RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags. Users can trigger the moving postcard (video) by placing a postcard on the table.

Together with DFI, Muscolino and his collaborators – Assistant Professors at VCUQatar Lauren Maas as copywriter, Stella Colaleo and Ben Benjamin Jurgensen as installation designers; international interaction design firm ToDo as technology consultants; VCUQatar students Al Hussein Wanas and Dhika Khaira as assistants; Laura Fox, Digital Campaigns Specialist and Community Development (QMA), and Shamir Allibhai, New Media Producer/Digital Strategist (DFI) – hope to produce an innovative documentary about Doha/Qatar for local and international visitors and audiences. The project also aims to produce content through educational activities and aspires to create a platform for the young filmmakers it features, while also aiming to connect to a burgeoning regional community invested in film through the ongoing curation and sharing of works. “The website will collect the best work, and as a work in progress, in two, three or six months we will have very interesting perspectives of the city,” says Muscolino who is also curating the exhibit.

“The Moving Postcards Project” at the “The Art of Travel” exhibition from 15 to 30 November, will be hosted at the Al Riwaq Doha exhibition space, located next to the Museum of Islamic Art. The event is open to the public.