Eternal Echoes / Sahar Baniabbasi (IR), Photo: Philipp Greindl

Festival X Next Gen

Festival X (AE) in collaboration with The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (AE), New York University Abu Dhabi (AE) and American University of Sharjah (AE)

Shedding Light on UAE Media Arts Students

The truth is multifaceted, and multiple narratives contribute to its understanding. Festival X, a novel interdisciplinary platform, existing at the intersection of Arts, Science, and Technology based in Dubai, UAE, aims to shed light on a part of the truth owned by a community that has always existed but now finds itself in the spotlight.

Central to our ethos is the empowerment and fostering of youth, bringing individuals together and creating a collaborative and sustainable community that thrives on dynamic growth and collective impact.

Festival X’s role is to facilitate collaboration and dialogue, recognizing that by harnessing the collective knowledge and creativity of forward-thinking individuals and establishments, and driving innovation and positive change. Progressive entities such as NYUAD, AUS, and DIDI have consistently demonstrated their commitment to pushing boundaries and have emerged as the pillars of the community that Festival X aims to unite.

Through this platform, they now have the stage to tell their part of the truth, to share their insights and experiences and to showcase the groundbreaking work they have undertaken.

Festival X aspires to create a regional community in Dubai, where the impact of one’s contributions generate a chain reaction, leading to dynamic growth and development.

This exhibition celebrates the diverse narratives that contribute to our understanding of truth through the collaborative efforts of an interconnected community.

  • 4 O’Clock

    4 O’Clock

    Tasneem Abdel Fattah (AE)

    4 O’Clock is a first-person narrative 3D game that discusses the speed at which time passes us by, and presents topics including work, time and death. Led by your higher consciousness in the shape of a fish, explore the terrains of life while you consider philosophical questions on time and how you spend it.

  • Airsense


    Areeba Shahid (PK), Aaliyah Mohammed (IN), Rand Kachlan (SY/KN), Shamma Al Shamsi (AE), Joanne Hayek (LB), Mirko Daneluzzo (IT)

    This project stems from an interest in measuring and mapping air quality patterns in Dubai, with a higher definition than the static station method. The project consists of a wearable micro-device called Airsense, that people can use to track the air quality around them in real time as they move through their daily activities.

  • BaTree


    Areeba Shahid (PK), Aaliyah Mohammed (IN), Rand Kachlan (SY/KN), Joanne Hayek (LB), Mirko Daneluzzo (IT), Suad Alfardan (AE), Ayesha Taher (IN)

    This project studies a real-time mapping of the micro-wind patterns in comparison with the prevailing winds expected in Dubai. BaTree makes use of custom machine-learning tools and algorithms to extract from video recordings the wind intensity and impact on palm trees’ movement.

  • Calibeaute


    Salma Ibrahim (EG)

    Calibeaute is an interactive installation that dives into the dark underbelly of toxic beauty standards. Through an interactive physical installation and exhibit, it sheds light on the manipulative tactics employed by the beauty industry, which prey upon our insecurities and coerce us into conforming to unattainable ideals.

  • Eternal Echoes

    Eternal Echoes

    Sahar Baniabbasi (IR)

    Eternal Echoes is a project showcasing the impact of timeless storytelling on today’s society by focusing on two world famous books: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and 1984 by George Orwell. It does so via short animations projected on top of a blank book and a voice-over explaining the significance of each book and the warnings…

  • Hacking Heat

    Hacking Heat

    Ahmad Saleh (AE), Joanne Hayek (LB), Mirko Daneluzzo (IT)

    This project stems from an interest in urban heat waste as a source of pollution and potentially a source of energy. Focusing particularly on the heat wasted by AC units in Dubai, Hacking Heat proposes to implement a system of real-time mapping to measure and compute the amount of heat generated by the AC exhausts…

  • Particle Cruisers

    Particle Cruisers

    Areeba Shahid (PK), Aaliyah Mohammed (IN), Rand Kachlan (SY/KN), Kaya Tueni (LB), Joanne Hayek (LB), Mirko Daneluzzo (IT)

    This project stems from an interest in cleaning the air while activating pockets of public space in the city proposing a series of Particle Cruisers: mobile outdoors furniture elements built with a mycelium body, that have the capacity to clean the air, through a mix of air-filtering plants.

  • The Oasis

    The Oasis

    Dhabia AlMansoori (AE), Joseph Hong (KR)

    The Oasis is a set of mechanical lotus flowers that interact with light in order to challenge the presumption of a lifeless, barren desert. The flowers are designed to be static artworks, buried into the crests of sand dunes. As the sun descends below the horizon, the flowers come to life, blooming as they cast…



    Sarah Al-Yahya (JO)

    YOU ARE NOT HERE is a durational interactive installation that explores misrepresentation on typical maps. It encourages audiences to engage in counter-mapping by pinning locations on an unlabeled map, meaning it does not contain any labels, and pins contributed by users are not geo-tagged, but placed in a grid on top of the traditional map.

About Festival X

Festival X is a novel interdisciplinary platform based in Dubai, which exists at the intersection of Arts, Science and Technology with a grand purpose to develop and nurture a media arts community in the region, and ultimately to position Dubai as a regional hub for media arts.

The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation DIDI is a design university offering the first multidisciplinary design degree in the region. Its curriculum was created in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT and Parsons School of Design. It offers four cross-concentrations: Product Design, Multimedia Design, Fashion Design, and Strategic Design Management courses, thus ensuring that graduates form a wide and flexible skillset to adapt to a rapidly changing job landscape.

The interactive media program at NYUAD provides access to new and more expansive communication technologies and creates new opportunities. From the electric telegraph to personal computers, from the participatory web to intelligent networks, our tools for communication and media production are constantly changing the ways we connect with one another.

The College of Architecture, Art and Design at American University of Sharjah (AUS), located in Sharjah, UAE, is recognized as a leading design school in the region. The internationally acclaimed faculty mentors inspire the discoveries and growth of their students, empowering them to gain hands-on experience with the kind of projects they would encounter in the real world.


Curatorial text: Amin Davaei, Co-Founder and Director of Festival X. Curation and Advisory: Joanne Hayek, Assistant Professor at DIDI; Mirko Daneluzzo, architect and Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of Nyxo ltd. with the support of the DIDI Future City Lab; Aaron Sherwood, Head of Interactive Media, Associate Arts Professor of Interactive Media; New York University Abu Dhabi and Zlatan Filipović, Associate Professor, Art and Design Department, College of Architecture, Art and Design, American University of Sharjah. Festival X Next Gen Executive Team: Roksana Taghvaei, Project Manager & Copywriter; Atousa Radmanesh, Assistant; Mona Samadani, Art Direction for Visual Design; Ali Rabei and Mohammad Reza Alaei, Graphic Design; Mehrdokht Sadeghi, Motion Designer; Sara Moshaver, 3D Designer; Mona Nateghi, Coordinations; Alireza Mortazavi, Logistics Coordinator. Special Thanks to Christ Baur, Violeta Gil Martinez, and Lisa Shchegolkova. Powered by LINKVIVA