Hawass means "senses" in Arabic and this hints towards our understanding of aesthetics as going beyond design, beauty, or taste but including questions and cultures of perception. Hawass is an image based open science platform on current aesthetic phenomena of Muslim cultures and societies. It features in one site
a contemporary archive, a virtual showroom...
The main focus is on cotemporary phenomena in the world of every day material culture, visual cultures and soon also acoustic culture. This is to value and visualize what there is. However, it is also to counterbalance the trend to reduce artistic expressions within Islam to eras long passed and to those things only, that are believed to belong to "high culture" and are of artistic value. The aesthetics of Islam today though are strongly shaped by industrially produced commodities, by plastic and crystal rather than brass and ivory. Yet, in order to grasp the current, drawing on historical paradigms is often needed and thus, the inclusion of visual references from the past is strongly encouraged. Since one aim of Hawass is to put things into context.
...and open research network
Hawass wants to speak to researches, designers, and those "just interested" in the various regions, in consumption and commodities, in graphics and posters, in calligraphy and graffiti, in cars, toys, and pottery, in power, flowers, and unicorns: All entries are tagged and thus invite to
explore connections and possible parallels
between things and designs across time, regions, and confessional differences that are barely visible when looking at one region, one topic only. For that reason Hawass encourages users to
exchange knowledge as well as questions, share archives and ideas
instead of storing them away in dark drawers. All images and texts are therefore under an open license and all metadata are licensed CC-0. For images having you as an author, this means the following: Your uploads may be copied and redistributed, remixed and transformed but under the following condition: Appropriate credit must be given to you as an author, a link to the license must be provided, and changes made must be indicated (CC-BY 4.0). If users remix, transform, or build upon the material, they must distribute the contributions under the same license as the original. Uploading external material with an already existing CC-license from Wikimedia Commons is strongly supported conceptually and technically by providing a simple way to retrieve data directly from the site. Hawass
values and visualizes work in progress
and is accordingly continuously build and fed. Hawass will change with every added content and its explorative character allows for an „open ending“. You are now visiting hawass.org in the beta version. Soon full functionality will be on. Please contact us for further information.
Hawass has only been possible with the generous support of the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. I would like to thank in particular Prof. Gudrun Krämer, Prof. Birgit Krawietz, and Dr. Bettina Gräf for their interest in the project from the very beginning, their continuous encouragement and invaluable critique.
In the framework of the Open Science Fellows Programm / Fellowprogramm Freies Wissen - established by Wikimedia Deutschland, Stifterverband and Volkswagen Stiftung - further invaluable support has been provided to the project. An open documentation of the development process in the framework of the fellowship can be seen here.