MANAL AL DOWAYAN | I HAD NO WINGS
The wheels were turning. I sat in the backseat and closed the windows. I sat separated from the driver. I had stopped asking about directions and how we were to get to our destination a long time ago. All roads lead to the same destination anyway. I found comfort in solitude; the thick glass kept the noise out. I look out of the window. I see movement that is frozen, and I see change that is negated.
Sitting in the backseat, a literal secondary space, as the vehicle moves forward. My sight obstructed; my view is different than those in the front. The sounds are muted and the thumps and ticks help numb me.
My breaths were quick and short as I sat in the backseat. Eventually I calmed down and caught my breath. I looked back at my life and found that over the years, I had lost my feet and had no wings. I realized I had become weak and crippled. I am approaching the end of the road, but the wheels will continue to turn.
Manal Al Dowayan’s video installation I Had No Wings (2015) explores the concept of time and its impact on the pace of change. Filmed from the backseat of a car driving through the streets of a city in Saudi Ara- bia, the film dissects the symbolism behind designated spaces, and the tension between time and movement, imparting a powerful sensation of floating between the present and the future. Discerning a paradoxi- cally frozen movement in her environment, Al Dowayan differentiates it from time moving forward relentlessly in a linear way.