top of page

Dubai Jumeirah Gardens Villas & Estates Valley Hills

Who Gets Paid for Digital Labor?
Christopher Bento_film still 1.JPG


Film Still. 8:32 minutes, 2019. 

Off-plan real estate developments are only as powerful as their ability to make you dream. This video comprises found footage of animations taken from various speculative real estate projects that never got built. They exist solely in the liminal sphere of a utopian vision that never came.

Throughout the video, frames are broken-down and reconfigured, much like the working-class people and neighborhoods that are re-tooled for capital growth. These passages are rendered even more hypnotic with custom motion-graphics that multiply the image into complex Arabic geometries, helping the 10-year-old footage reclaim its power to seduce.


A collaborative work, cultural cartographer Ahmad Makia & urbanist Bhoomika Asvinkumar provide grounding for this exercise, taking turns lecturing and reading excerpts from their research on real estate and economic dynamics in the UAE.

2-minute excerpt. 2019

Christopher Bento_film still 2.JPG
Christopher Bento_film still 5.JPG
Christopher Bento_film still 3.JPG
Christopher Bento_film still 4.JPG

Research image. Canceled tower in Satwa / Dubai Gardens City, designed by SOM Chicago

Al-Satwa-Site Plan_small.jpg

Research image. Master plan redevelopment for Satwa. The original vision for the neighborhood has been massively scaled-back since its original unveiling during the 2018 Global Financial Crisis


Research image. This empty lot was once single-family villas, occupied by Balooch-Emiratis, and later working-class South-asian expatriates. Today, this lot has begun development with towers gradually emerging across the landscape.

bottom of page