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Catalog:

Wafaa Bilal: Canto III

Natalie and James Thompson Gallery Opened April 6th, 2021 View 3D Gallery
Poster image for Wafaa Bilal: Canto III

Statement:

Curated by Alena Sauzade

How can a despot's unrealized monument be used as a vessel for the voices and history of a once oppressed people? What does it take to overcome the destruction of dictatorship and create a narrative of resilience and celebration?

A satellite launch, historical archive, and an expanded conversation on the after effects of dictatorship come together in Canto III, a virtual exhibition by internationally renowned artist Wafaa Bilal. The work is an anti-monument that parodies a 1990’s proposal by Saddam Hussein’s followers to launch a golden bust of the despot into orbit. Canto III is a parody of monumentality that considers both the hubris and absurdity of the notion that a leader can and should be remembered forever, and the idea that the toppling of a monument can erase past trauma and create a new era.

Produced as part of Wafaa Bilal’s virtual artist residency at the Natalie and James Thompson Gallery at San Jose State University, this exhibition presents project documentation, prototypes, and designs for a 2U cube satellite which will be launched into orbit in 2022. Using a combination of off the shelf components as well as custom built imaging technology, we hope to ensure mission success while pushing the boundaries of what is possible with space based imaging technology.

A special thank you to Professor Andrew Blanton and students in Art 210: Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar in Digital Media L: Camila Avina-Garcia, Mengshi Chen, Aaron Arthur Chin, Edward Ham, Imelda Josie Lepe, Jessica Prakash, Asra Siddiqui, Kyra Sycip, Kiki Wu, Xiao Wu; to New Art City founder Don Hanson; to Dr. Nada Shabout, Regent Professor of Art History at the University of North Texas; and to Joel Slayton, Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University and Founding Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media for their help with this exhibition.

Sponsored by the Natalie and James Thompson Gallery and supported by an Artistic Excellence Programming Grant from the College of Humanities and the Arts at San Jose State University.

3D Environment Description:

The exhibition space is an open terrain with a dark soil floor and a grey sky. The visitor begins at a map kiosk, which displays the four distinct spaces within the exhibition.

Map Kiosk
Alt Text: A white table with a map of the exhibition space. The map marks the four distinct sites within the exhibition and shows multiple routes for accessing them. Hyperlinks allow the user to teleport to the sites.

Description: The exhibition has four distinct sites that can be accessed by navigating using the WASD or arrow keys on a keyboard. You can walk around objects in each space by using your mouse. You can always use Ctrl + R to return to the start or the ESC key to return to the main menu.

Hyperlinks to:

Teleport to Satellite: https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=5&y=10&z=50

Teleport to Boutique: https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=400&y=10&z=-100

Teleport to Saddam Monument: https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=-290&y=10&z=30

To the left of the map kiosk is a sign titled “Navigation Tips”.

Alt- Text: A white signpost that has text that reads "navigation tips."

Description: Click or hover over signs like this one throughout the space to read full descriptions of individual works and historical information.

Moving forward, the visitor encounters two floating text panels. On the left:

Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias," 1818
Alt- Text: Floating text on a transparent background that reads:
"I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

On the Right:
Lord Byron, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" excerpt from Canto the Third, 1813
Alt- Text:
Floating text on a transparent background that reads:

Conqueror and captive of the earth art thou!
She trembles at thee still, and thy wild name
Was ne'er more bruited in men's minds than now
That thou art nothing, save the jest of Fame,
Who woo'd thee once, thy vassal, and became
The flatterer of thy fierceness, till thou wert
A god unto thyself; nor less the same
To the astounded kingdoms all inert,
Who deem'd thee for a time whate'er thou didst assert.

- Lord Byron, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" excerpt from Canto the Third, 1813

Moving straight ahead, the visitor encounters a two sided billboard.

Billboard
Alt-Text: The front of the billboard has text on a mauve colored background.

The text reads:
At the apex of Saddam Hussein’s power in Iraq in the mid-1980s, the ruling Ba’ath party planned a tribute to its leader that promised to be out of this world – literally. For the Ba’athists, Saddam was a hero whose galvanizing call to pan-Arabism made him the second coming of Salah ad-Din – globally, ‘Saladin’ – the Iraqi-born Kurdish military conqueror who in the late 12th century won back Jerusalem from the Crusaders, founded the Ayyubid dynasty, and re-aligned the power centers of Egypt and Syria with the Islamic capital in Baghdad. Boldly manifesting this chimerical conception of Saddam, the party commissioned a golden bust in his likeness, to be launched, via satellite, into Earth’s upper orbit. There it would circle the globe forever: an eternal monument to his ascendancy, they thought. Saddam’s space effigy was never completed, and the satellite was never launched. His memory is fading into the underworld of forgotten tyrants.

But where blustering authoritarian propaganda fizzled, interactive self-aware art will prevail. Making good on the failed plan from within an inverted critical framework of artistic expression and interdisciplinary collaboration, Canto III stands not just as a powerful anti-tribute to a
deposed dictator, but an ode to the values of regenerative creativity and self-awareness that can help launch humanity toward greater consciousness.

As a young artist I was forced to flee Saddam’s Iraq; I survived the experience of being a prisoner of war by finding new ways to make art. With Canto III, this peaceful practice of aesthetic resistance finds its boomerang moment. In hacking the original intended meaning of
the Saddam satellite as a supernatural testament to a fascist’s rise, this temporary space art instead delivers a second chance for the people of Iraq – and the world – to process and celebrate his demise.

- Wafaa Bilal

Back of the billboard:

Alt- Text: The back of the billboard shows a smiling portrait of Saddam Hussein dressed as an Arab sheik. Two United States soldiers stand on the billboard, flanking Hussein's portrait.

Straight ahead from the billboard is a display of the satellite components, laid out on the ground individually.

These are:
Power Supply, Designed by Edward Jae Ham

Description: The Power Supply designed by Edward Jae Ham is based on the Crystalspace P1U power supply. Ham used a 3D modeling software called Maya to sculpt the part in basic shapes. It was sculpted in proportion to the original dimensions of 96mm x 90 mm x 12.2 mm.

Alt- Text: A 3 dimensional model of a satellite power supply placed at the center of the chassis, below the golden bust of Saddam Hussein.

Chassis and Antenna, Designed by Aaron Chin
Alt- Text: A 3 dimensional model of satellite chassis in light grey.

Solar Panel
Description: The solar panel is based on 2U CubeSat Solar Panel produced by Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. (ISIS). According to the datasheet the company offered, the solar panel was modeled using Blender, an open-source 3D modeling software.

Alt- text: A 3 dimensional model of a solar panel in light blue.

Camera
Alt-Text: A 3 dimensional model of a camera is mounted to the top of the satellite chassis, facing the golden bust of Saddam Hussein.

Golden Bust of Saddam as Saladin by Wafaa Bilal
Alt- Text: A gold bust of Saddam Hussein with a helmet in the shape of the Dome of the Rock.

To the right of the satellite components is a portal to the “outer space” section of the exhibition. Clicking on the portal, the visitor is transported into outer space, which has a dark sky background, and a rotating planet earth in the foreground. Orbiting earth is the Canto III satellite, made up of a chassis, solar panels, and power supply. Inside the chassis is a gold bust of Saddam Hussein with a Dome of the Rock Helmet and a camera.

The visitor can exit “outer space” using the same portal they entered through. Back in the Main exhibition space, the visitor can move to the left or right of the “satellite components.”

On the left is the Canto III Boutique.

Two L-shaped white shelves hover in the Boutique space. One is approximately 12 inches above the other. On the top shelf there are four bookends, one bust, and two candle holders. On the bottom shelf, there are three busts and four bookends.

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder, Wafaa Bilal
Description: Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.
Alt-Text: An approximately eight inch tall, white candlestick holder in the shape of a bust of Saddam Hussein with a helmet in the shape of the Dome of the Rock. A white candlestick is attached.

Dome of the Rock Bookend, Wafaa Bilal
Description: Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.
Alt- Text: Black bust of Saddam Hussein with a Dome of the Rock Helmet used as a bookend. Measures 8 inches high.

Dome of the Rock Bust, Wafaa Bilal
Description: Measures 14 inches. high. Available in an edition of 5.
Alt- Text: A 14 inch high gold bust of Saddam Hussein with a helmet in the shape of the Dome of the Rock.

To the right of the shelves is a billboard, where a video plays in a loop.

Golden Ashes and Purple Smoke Perfumes, Wafaa Bilal
Alt- Text: An advertising video for Golden Ashes and Purple Smoke perfumes. Both perfume bottles are glass with a tube and a mesh atomizer bulb. Golden Ashes has gold colored liquid and gold atomizer. Purple Smoke has purple liquid and a purple atomizer. The video shows the perfume bottles one at a time, rotating 360 degrees, first Golden Ashes, then Purple Smoke. A link next to the video takes the visitor to https://wafaabilal.com/contact/ for purchasing inquiries.

To the right of the “Satellite Components” the visitor can move towards the “Saddam as Saladin/Dome of the Rock Monument”.

Two monumental busts of Saddam Hussein, one of which is partially destroyed, stand in front of two United States Army Humvees and one date tree.

Dome of the Rock/ Saddam as Saladin
One of four monumental busts depicting Saddam Hussein with the Dome of the Rock as a helmet, Baghdad, Iraq, circa 2005

Alt- Text: An approximately 30ft high monument in the form of a bust of Saddam Hussein with a helmet in the shape of the Dome of the Rock.

Description: The rise of Saddam’s personality cult in the late 1970s and 80s led to colossal iron effigies of the dictator being erected across cities throughout Iraq. Some of these featured Saddam’s intransigent gaze crested by a hemispherical metal helmet resembling the Dome of the Rock – a sacred site in Islam as well as in all Abrahamic faiths – thereby brazing his rule with divine mandate. Crowning the Iraqi strongman with the iconic skyline of Jerusalem’s holy mosque framed his crooked power-grabbing under the vindicable banner of advancing Islamic values. It also made him something of a folk hero, underlining his association with Salah ad-Din through the Dome of the Rock iconography.

The visual semiotics of the ‘Dome of the Rock/Saddam as Saladin’ bust serve to connect him not only with the historical figure of Salah ad-Din, but with the glories of the golden age of the Islamic gunpowder empires. The panel hanging down at the back of the neck recalls the fabric or chainmail of Islamic helmets from Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Iran, and Mughal India; somewhere between armor and crown, its silhouette dovetails the meanings of soldier and emperor. In this way, the modern codes of legitimacy conveyed by the Iraqi army suit and tie – and the classical bust format itself – are buttressed by enduring symbols of pan-Islamic empire, iconographical keys meant to unlock Saddam’s widest geographical, cultural, and religious appeal.

This was the bust design most likely to have been chosen by the Ba'ath party to go up in space. Had it come to pass, Saddam would have become the only ruler in history – crowned by the Dome of the Rock to boot – with his likeness looking down on the whole planet of human affairs.
-Wafaa Bilal

Dome of the Rock/ Saddam as Saladin
One of four monumental busts depicting Saddam Hussein with the Dome of the Rock as a helmet, Baghdad, Iraq, circa 2005

Alt- Text: An approximately 30ft high monument in the form of a bust of Saddam Hussein with a helmet in the shape of the Dome of the Rock. The top half of the helmet is missing.

High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle
(HMMWV; colloquial: Humvee)

Alt-Text: Two 3 dimensional models of a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) used by the United States Army in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005. The Humvees are sand colored with areas of dirt and rust and stand behind a monumental bust of Saddam as Saladin.

Date Tree
Alt-Text: A single date tree stands behind the two United States Army Humvees.

Artworks in this space:

Canto III in Space

Canto III is a parody of monumentality that considers both the hubris and absurdity of the notion that a leader can and should be remembered forever, and the idea that the toppling of a monument can erase past trauma and create a new era.This self-documenting monument is both a critique of the self-reflective nature of monument creation and a commentary on the ways that digital technology has transformed viewers’ collective relationship with not only space, but reality itself. Significantly, unlike the original monument intended during Hussein’s reign, this project will collect oral histories, narratives, and a wide range of cultural products, from poetry to recipes, in digital format from Iraqis and Iraqi-Americans. These recorded narratives will be transmitted during the Cubesat’s orbit and archived as part of an online exhibition. The active involvement of the Iraqi people will help emancipate them from the trauma they experienced living under Hussein's regime, but at the same time, point out how cultural artifacts are the bonds that bring us together. Through these recorded accounts, the project centers the resilience of the Iraqi people and immortalizes their lived experiences.Centering  the voices of the Iraqi people within this reconceptualized monument to Hussein is both cathartic and celebratory. At the same time, Canto III, in its monumental ascent and eventual reduction to space junk, echoes contemporary conversations regarding the life-cycle of public sculpture, all the while evoking the aftereffects of trauma and the repercussions of authoritarian regimes.

No preview available for FBX file.

Power Supply

Designed by Edward Jae Ham

The Power Supply designed by Edward Jae Ham is based on the Crystalspace P1U power supply. Ham used a 3D modeling software called Maya to sculpt the part in basic shapes. It was sculpted in proportion to the original dimensions of 96mm x 90 mm x 12.2 mm.

Chassis and Antenna

Designed by Aaron Chin

Antenna: As an indispensable part of the satellite - antenna. We thought it should have superior receiving and transmitting functions, and the antenna itself should be light and not easy to fall off. So we have two parts, one is the base, and the other is the poles, and the poles receive information to the substrate, and then send information from the base to the poles. Base: The base design is a short cube with raised areas to support the antennas. This base was designed to intentionally mimic the Nano Avionics’ UHF Antenna System 1X1U. This design was the perfect example of what we needed to create for this life-like satellite model. This base worked effortlessly with the poles that are placed on top accordingly.

Solar Panel

Xia Wu

The solar panel I created is based on 2U CubeSat Solar Panel produced by Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. (ISIS). According to the datasheet the company offered, I modeled the solar panel using Blender, an open-source 3D modeling software. The process of modeling helped me become more skilled in creating 3D models. By observing the details, I also have a more comprehensive understanding of the solar panel's structure.

Camera

Golden Bust of Saddam as Saladin

Wafaa Bilal

High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle

(HMMWV; colloquial: Humvee)

High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle

(HMMWV; colloquial: Humvee)

Dome of the Rock/ Saddam as Saladin

Two of four monumental busts depicting Saddam Hussein with the Dome of the Rock as a helmet, Baghdad, Iraq, circa 2005

The rise of Saddam’s personality cult in the late 1970s and 80s led to colossal iron effigies of the dictator being erected across cities throughout Iraq. Some of these featured Saddam’s intransigent gaze crested by a hemispherical metal helmet resembling the Dome of the Rock – a sacred site in Islam as well as in all Abrahamic faiths – thereby brazing his rule with divine mandate. Crowning the Iraqi strongman with the iconic skyline of Jerusalem’s holy mosque framed his crooked power-grabbing under the vindicable banner of advancing Islamic values. It also made him something of a folk hero, underlining his association with Salah ad-Din through the Dome of the Rock iconography. The visual semiotics of the ‘Dome of the Rock/Saddam as Saladin’ bust serve to connect him not only with the historical figure of Salah ad-Din, but with the glories of the golden age of the Islamic gunpowder empires. The panel hanging down at the back of the neck recalls the fabric or chainmail of Islamic helmets from Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Iran, and Mughal India; somewhere between armor and crown, its silhouette dovetails the meanings of soldier and emperor. In this way, the modern codes of legitimacy conveyed by the Iraqi army suit and tie – and the classical bust format itself – are buttressed by enduring symbols of pan-Islamic empire, iconographical keys meant to unlock Saddam’s widest geographical, cultural, and religious appeal. This was the bust design mostly likely to have been chosen by the Ba'ath party to go up in space. Had it come to pass, Saddam would have become the only ruler in history – crowned by the Dome of the Rock to boot – with his likeness looking down on the whole planet of human affairs. -Wafaa Bilal

Dome of the Rock/ Saddam as Saladin

Two of four monumental busts depicting Saddam Hussein with the Dome of the Rock as a helmet, Baghdad, Iraq, circa 2005

Chassis and Antenna

Designed by Aaron Chin

Date Tree

A single date tree stands behind the two United States Army Humvees.

Power Supply

Designed by Edward Jae Ham

The Power Supply designed by Edward Jae Ham is based on the Crystalspace P1U power supply. Ham used a 3D modeling software called Maya to sculpt the part in basic shapes. It was sculpted in proportion to the original dimensions of 96mm x 90 mm x 12.2 mm.

Golden Bust of Saddam as Saladin

Camera

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Book

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Bookend

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Bookend

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Candlestick Holder

Wafaa Bilal

Fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5 each.

Golden Ashes and Purple Smoke Perfumes

Wafaa Bilal

An advertising video for Golden Ashes and Purple Smoke perfumes. Both perfume bottles are glass with a tube and a mesh atomizer bulb. Golden Ashes has gold colored liquid and gold atomizer. Purple Smoke has purple liquid and a purple atomizer. The video shows the perfume bottles one at a time, rotating 360 degrees, first Golden Ashes, then Purple Smoke. A link next to the video takes the visitor to https://wafaabilal.com/contact/ for purchasing inquiries.

Purchasing Inquires

Attitude control and determination system (ACDS)

Xia Wu

This ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control System) is modeled based on ADACS Interface Module published by cubesatkit.com. Different from the solar panel I created by measuring the appearance, I had a much detailed 3D model to observe. It is an enjoyment to imitate the model and learn the delicate craftsmanship of the electronic product.

Dome of the Rock Bust

Wafaa Bilal

Measures 14 inches. high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Bookend

Wafaa Bilal

Measures 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Bookend

Wafaa Bilal

Measures 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Bookend

Wafaa Bilal

Measures 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Bookend

Wafaa Bilal

Measures 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Dome of the Rock Bookend

Wafaa Bila

Measures 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5.

Solar Panel

The solar panel I created is based on 2U CubeSat Solar Panel produced by Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. (ISIS). According to the datasheet the company offered, I modeled the solar panel using Blender, an open-source 3D modeling software. The process of modeling helped me become more skilled in creating 3D models. By observing the details, I also have a more comprehensive understanding of the solar panel's structure.

Solar Panel

The solar panel I created is based on 2U CubeSat Solar Panel produced by Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. (ISIS). According to the datasheet the company offered, I modeled the solar panel using Blender, an open-source 3D modeling software. The process of modeling helped me become more skilled in creating 3D models. By observing the details, I also have a more comprehensive understanding of the solar panel's structure.

Solar Panel

The solar panel I created is based on 2U CubeSat Solar Panel produced by Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. (ISIS). According to the datasheet the company offered, I modeled the solar panel using Blender, an open-source 3D modeling software. The process of modeling helped me become more skilled in creating 3D models. By observing the details, I also have a more comprehensive understanding of the solar panel's structure.

Attitude control and determination system (ACDS)

This ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control System) is modeled based on ADACS Interface Module published by cubesatkit.com. Different from the solar panel I created by measuring the appearance, I had a much detailed 3D model to observe. It is an enjoyment to imitate the model and learn the delicate craftsmanship of the electronic product.

Exhibition Layout

The exhibition has four distinct sites that can be accessed by navigating using the WASD or arrow keys on a keyboard. You can walk around objects in each space by using your mouse. You can always use Ctrl + R to return to the start or the ESC key to return to the main menu. Teleport to Satellite: https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=5&y=10&z=50 Teleport to Boutique: https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=400&y=10&z=-100 Teleport to Saddam Monument: https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=-290&y=10&z=30

Canto III

Wafaa Bilal

At the apex of Saddam Hussein’s power in Iraq in the mid-1980s, the ruling Ba’ath party planned a tribute to its leader that promised to be out of this world – literally. For the Ba’athists, Saddam was a hero whose galvanizing call to pan-Arabism made him the second coming of Salah ad-Din – globally, ‘Saladin’ – the Iraqi-born Kurdish military conqueror who in the late 12th century won back Jerusalem from the Crusaders, founded the Ayyubid dynasty, and re-aligned the power centers of Egypt and Syria with the Islamic capital in Baghdad. Boldly manifesting this chimerical conception of Saddam, the party commissioned a golden bust in his likeness, to be launched, via satellite, into Earth’s upper orbit. There it would circle the globe forever: an eternal monument to his ascendancy, they thought. Saddam’s space effigy was never completed, and the satellite was never launched. His memory is fading into the underworld of forgotten tyrants. But where blustering authoritarian propaganda fizzled, interactive self-aware art will prevail. Making good on the failed plan from within an inverted critical framework of artistic expression and interdisciplinary collaboration, Canto III stands not just as a powerful anti-tribute to a deposed dictator, but an ode to the values of regenerative creativity and self-awareness that can help launch humanity toward greater consciousness. As a young artist I was forced to flee Saddam’s Iraq; I survived the experience of being a prisoner of war by finding new ways to make art. With Canto III, this peaceful practice of aesthetic resistance finds its boomerang moment. In hacking the original intended meaning of the Saddam satellite as a supernatural testament to a fascist’s rise, this temporary space art instead delivers a second chance for the people of Iraq – and the world – to process and celebrate his demise. - Wafaa Bilal

Canto III Boutique Sign

Canto III Boutique Dome of the Rock Busts, fabricated in winterstone and measuring 14 in. high. Available in an edition of 5. Dome of the Rock Bookends, fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 inches high. Available in an edition of 5. Dome of the Rock Candlesticks, fabricated in winterstone and measuring 8 a inches high. Available in an edition of 5 each. Golden Ashes, Dome of the Rock perfume bottle. Inquire for availability. Purple Smoke, Dome of the Rock perfume bottle. Inquire for availability. Teleport to Start:https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=34&y=10&z=-350

Canto III Satellite Components Sign

Canto III Satellite Components The satellite will consist of 5 essential components including a standard 2U bus as housing. The underlying components of the vehicle will be power management, a payload controller, a power system, and 3 axis ACDS for imaging stability. We will use this bus in conjunction with an X Band Transceiver System, as well as an onboard antenna, and our payload of a customized camera, and a small sculpture. On the ground, we plan to use multiple base stations, including one at San José State University, to then receive downlinked images. Using custom software that we will build, we will ingest the X band data, interpret the signal back into a visual form. We will then send those images to a computer housed in the exhibition space and project that image live. Ideally we will have multiple base stations around the planet for transmission of downlinked images creating a quicker refresh rate. teleport to Start:https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=34&y=10&z=-350

Dome of the Rock/ Saddam as Saladin Sign

Dome of the Rock/ Saddam as Saladin Two of four monumental busts depicting Saddam Hussein with the Dome ofthe Rock as a helmet, Baghdad, Iraq, circa 2005 The rise of Saddam’s personality cult in the late 1970s and 80s led to colossal iron effigies of the dictator being erected across cities throughout Iraq. Some of these featured Saddam’s intransigent gaze crested by a hemispherical metal helmet resembling the Dome of the Rock – a sacred site in Islam as well as in all Abrahamic faiths – thereby brazing his rule with divine mandate. Crowning the Iraqi strongman with the iconic skyline of Jerusalem’s holy mosque framed his crooked power-grabbing under the vindicable banner of advancing Islamic values. It also made him something of a folk hero, underlining his association with Salah ad-Din through the Dome of the Rock iconography. The visual semiotics of the ‘Dome of the Rock/Saddam as Saladin’ bust serve to connect him not only with the historical figure of Salah ad-Din, but with the glories of the golden age of the Islamic gunpowder empires. The panel hanging down at the back of the neck recalls the fabric or chainmail of Islamic helmets from Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Iran, and Mughal India; somewhere between armor and crown, its silhouette dovetails the meanings of soldier and emperor. In this way, the modern codes of legitimacy conveyed by the Iraqi army suit and tie – and the classical bust format itself – are buttressed by enduring symbols of pan-Islamic empire, iconographical keys meant to unlock Saddam’s widest geographical, cultural, and religious appeal. This was the bust design mostly likely to have been chosen by the Ba'ath party to go up in space. Had it come to pass, Saddam would have become the only ruler in history – crowned by the Dome of the Rock to boot – with his likeness looking down on the whole planet of human affairs. -Wafaa Bilal teleport to Start:https://newart.city/show/canto-iii?x=34&y=10&z=-350

Exhibition Signage

Click or hover over signs like this one throughout the space to read full descriptions of individual works and historical information.

"Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" excerpt from Canto the Third, 1813

Lord Byron

Conqueror and captive of the earth art thou! She trembles at thee still, and thy wild name Was ne'er more bruited in men's minds than now That thou art nothing, save the jest of Fame, Who woo'd thee once, thy vassal, and became The flatterer of thy fierceness, till thou wert A god unto thyself; nor less the same To the astounded kingdoms all inert, Who deem'd thee for a time whate'er thou didst assert.

Floating text on a transparent background that reads:

Conqueror and captive of the earth art thou!
She trembles at thee still, and thy wild name
Was ne'er more bruited in men's minds than now
That thou art nothing, save the jest of Fame,
Who woo'd thee once, thy vassal, and became
The flatterer of thy fierceness, till thou wert
A god unto thyself; nor less the same
To the astounded kingdoms all inert,
Who deem'd thee for a time whate'er thou didst assert.

- Lord Byron, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" excerpt from Canto the Third, 1813

"Ozymandias," 1818

Percy Bysshe Shelley

"I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Floating text on a transparent background that reads:

"I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ozymandias,” 1818