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Bakhoor Assandal

Bakhoor Assandal is released as part of reGEN, a special charitable auction of generative art to raise funds for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, curated by Alex Estorick and Foteini Valeonti in collaboration with The Giving Block.

I said I won’t forget Sudan. I had no idea what that would mean. That, for now, all we have left of our home in Sudan is our memories.

The broken system officially broke, And the people took the broken roads right out of town.

Were the ladies dressed in bright colors and patterns as they escaped to the sound of bombing? When a Sudanese home goes up in smoke does it smell like sandalwood incense? Do the walls covered in hopeful graffiti still stand? Does the mango tree still bear fruit, and does it remember our family?

Has the war reached the school we built? Do the walls still stand? How many years will it be before the school system reopens? Will the idea that a school would be used for ... school … be a mere memory of a good intention?

When the rebel army broke into our abandoned home, Ransacked everything the Sudanese part of our family owns, Then went upstairs, and found the beginnings of a learning center, Intended to giving young bright Sudanese people a window into the world of blockchain and AI, Any chance they didn’t steal everything? Or is our learning center ... a mere memory ... of a good intention?

When the rebel army chose to live in our abandoned home for a term, Did they feel and sense our memory echoing off the walls? If we are ever able to return, will we feel and sense the memory of them?

If my niece-in-law (who is two –– or maybe three now) has already forgotten the anthem, and refers to the family home as the “house of shooting,” what does that mean for the future of Sudan?

If all the displaced Sudanese people are able to hold onto their memories, treasure them, and someday bring them back to Omdurman, Can Sudan be regenerated ... like a forest after a wildfire ... perhaps stronger and less broken than it was before?

~

Bakhoor Assandal is an animated generative series made in JavaScript and GLSL. The name refers to the incense made from sandalwood that is common in Sudan. While sandaliya is the oil of sandalwood used as perfume, Bakhoor Assandal is the incense, burned on coals, made from the same wood. One could say it is the same substance gone up in smoke.

This project is a continuation of Sandaliya, a series that interweaves personal memories and familial connections in Sudan against the growing conflict. In April 2023, a civil war ignited, and many were forced to evacuate. Bakhoor Assandal uses JavaScript and GLSL to create outputs in constant disarray. With a particular focus on movement, the algorithm builds layer by layer, with each pixel in perpetual shift, never replicating its past form –– a testament to life’s relentless change. Like the ephemeral smoke of burning incense, we must embrace the flow, knowing we will remember the scent.

Notes

Experience it in real time: click or press the spacebar to toggle the animation. In live mode, the visual dynamically adjusts to your window. To modulate speed in live mode, append “?speed=X” at the end of the URL, where “X” is your desired multiple. For example: “?speed=0.5” for half speed.

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