Assembly is a series of site-specific installations that perform Muslim prayer spaces, comprising of 1:1 scaled moving floor projections with 5.1-surround sound. All aspects of the works that form Assembly, entitled respectively Jamaat and Salat, are made respecting the religious and cultural rules of the mosque community. As the audience enters each prayer site the projection is activated, revealing a pre-recorded film of congregational prayer. The digital moving image hovers improbably above its ‘real’ counterpart, providing an opportunity to experience prayer in situ, via the site-performance. To date, Assembly has been made and exhibited in two mosques, Birmingham Central Mosque and Brick Lane Mosque, London.
Research into Muslim sites of worship has often been conducted as theological and sociological studies, which neglect to acknowledge the performativity of Muslim prayer. Assembly aims to address this through a series of site-specific artworks that directly engage with each site and its congregation. The experiential nature of this research encourages feedback from the site community during the creative act, of equal weighting to the artist. At strategically positioned points the congregation informed the making of the work.
Assembly investigates the role that artist fieldwork can play in engaging and connecting communities, as well as exploring the religious, cultural and social structures that exist in Islamic sites of worship. It could be argued that there is already a form of site-integrity in the mosque because of the religious and social practices that happen there. How much are the religious practices responsible for defining a mosque?