This is how the Billoniares spend their money - eritvnews

This is how the Billoniares spend their money

Dubai is both fascinating and controversial. It has fans and critics. I don’t like to decide what viewers should think when looking at my work; they should fill in the story according to their own visions and knowledge.” Photographer Nick Hannes has just won a Magnum Award for his series Bread and Circuses, which “showcases Dubai as the ultimate playground of globalisation and capitalism” – but he’s not offering any kind of judgement. Instead, his images are ambiguous, and often witty, glimpses of a lifestyle that can seem alien to many.

Chillout Ice Lounge, a subzero bar at Oasis Mall, 6 January 2016 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
Saudi tourists having a hot chocolate at the Chillout Ice Lounge, the first subzero ice lounge in the Middle East, 6 January 2016 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
“The rapid transformation of Dubai from a dusty fishing town in the ‘60s to the ultramodern metropolis of today fascinates both supporters and critics,” Hannes writes in the project description; many of his photos almost force a double take, poking at the surface to show a different angle. 

Emirati boys playing a game of pool at City Walk shopping mall's gaming and entertainment complex Hub Zero, 5 January 2017 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
“Ninety per cent of the population of Dubai are expats,” Hannes told BBC Culture. “Within this extremely heterogeneous group I decided to focus primarily on the upper middle class – the wealthier segment of society. I went to the places the members in this group go to have fun: nightclubs, beaches, theme parks, hotels, malls.” With its artificial islands and buildings replicating world landmarks, Dubai can be seen as a kind of theme park for the wealthy: but Hannes looked beyond fast cars and couture logos.
Global Village, 7 January 2017 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
Global Village, a shopping and entertainment park, with 32 pavilions representing 75 countries, 7 January 2017 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
“A very important source of inspiration for the Dubai series is The Capsular Civilisation, a book by Belgian philosopher Lieven De Cauter. It also provided a theoretical framework,” he says, explaining that De Cauter “imagines an extreme dual society: the first world is an archipelago of shielded islands or ‘capsules’, where it’s pleasant to live; the second world is all the rest: an ocean of chaos and poverty.”
Prototype of an underwater villa with butler. 16 January 2017 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
Prototype of the Floating Seahorse underwater holiday villa with butler at the Heart of Europe, a man-made archipelago in the Persian Gulf. 16 January 2017 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
He sees parallels in his latest project. “The process of urbanisation in Dubai strikingly resembles the phenomenon of ‘capsularisation’ as defined by De Cauter. On a local scale, there is the segregation between the expats and the migrant workers. On a global level, the United Arab Emirates can be considered as one big ‘capsule’, a safe haven in the unstable Middle East.”
A desert road in Dubai, 20 September 2016 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
A desert road in Dubai, 20 September 2016 (Credit: Nick Hannes)
Yet again he is keen to point out his photos don’t adhere to any definitive viewpoint. “I have no monopoly on truth, and therefore it’s not my intention to give answers. I’d rather raise questions about sustainability, inequality, the economisation of society, authenticity, greed. I hope this will lead to self-reflection.”


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