Creative Direction, images, typography by Ikon A. Chiba
GIF animation by Nora Khorshid
This project is part of the Hair Folder by Valerie Arif
This article is part of the “My Hair My Hair” issue
Kawkab El Sha3r takes us through a journey into deep space: images of human hair and body parts, emphasizing the movement and direction of hair growth, framed and edited in a way that brings to mind telescopic images of space.
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Arab astronomers produced a wealth of astronomical work, improving and refining Ptolemaic frameworks, compiling better tables, and devising instruments to improve observations. On December 25th 2021, NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope and is now giving us celestial images that rival those of Hubble, launched in 1990.
“The influence of the stars is undoubtedly due to the rays sent from them into the world.”Al-Kindi
In Kawkab El Sha3r, we turn our “telescope” to capture images of hairy galaxies, orbiting planets, prickly nebulae, the Milky Way, and black holes. It asks, does the universe shape the movement of our hair? Is there a relationship between the shapes we see in our hair and on our bodies and those we see in outer space?
The universe is constantly in motion; gravitational and electromagnetic forces keep large objects in motion, while nuclear forces ensure the quantum world is in motion. Without these forces, the universe would be static. Likewise, our bodies and our hair follicles are constantly at work. Our hair grows long, falls out, grows back, stands upright, and then relaxes as we go through and experience the world.
The series juxtaposes nature’s different works and its use of familiar shapes and patterns. It asks us to zoom in and out and to perceive our bodies as designed and as part of a bigger whole.
[NOTE on the design: The typography is inspired by a vintage Egyptian beauty magazine’s logo typeface. Al Kawakeb was launched in the 1930s and is still in publication today. The magazine focuses on beauty, fashion, and film. The typography is based on Al Kawakeb’s logo and has been rendered in acid-green to recall sci-fi and internet aesthetic, to have something relatable and culturally historic in the Middle East region, and innuendo to what we might discover this year or in coming years, maybe signs of alien life soon?]
Thank you for sharing part of your universe:
Amira El Raghy
And to the hair_folder team:
Funded by EUNIC
Ikon A. Chiba is a multidisciplinary visual artist, creative director and filmmaker, born in Alexandria, Egypt to a Japanese mother and an Egyptian father. He finds his inspiration in nature, deep space, and the human form with all its complex demeanors.
The versatile director deconstructs and renders visible the fabric of our cognitive reality through obscure and unconventional stills and films. His raw and peculiar aesthetic, along with his interest in body movement and the effects of its surroundings, are stimulated by subculture, spaces and celestial forms.
Despite the adaptive nature of the commercial industries, tailored to suit the masses, Ikon challenges the conventional, injecting his own aesthetic of minimal and sci-fi direction into his works.