Soumoud ~ The Thread Back Home

Data visualization, Design for Social Justice, Product Design

Soumoud ~ The Thread Back Home

Soumoud is a brand of socially-engaged and data-driven wearable products evoking a factual, rights-based narrative of the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Soumoud was a design research project commissioned by VisualizingPalestine. Soumoud remains a prototype and was never actualized.

The concept of the brand sprung from the initial question: “How can we create compelling wearable products that tell a story about Palestine?”. Synthesizing data visualization charts with historic and factual narratives, the first product of Soumoud would have been a series of scarves inspired by the Nakba, the 1948 Palestinian exodus, literally “catastrophe”. It occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes. In the wake of these events, 529 Palestinian villages were depopulated, while urban Palestine was almost entirely extinguished.

The scarves map out the 16 districts of Pre-Nakba Palestine and trace all the villages within each district individually. Each of the scarves contains 529 bars indicating the number of Palestinian villages which were depopulated during the war in 1948. The tag accompanying the scarves serves as a proprietorship card from the register of lands. As many Palestinian refugees still possess their land deeds, the scarves touch upon the Palestinian’s right of return.  

Furthermore, the scarves address in new ways the role of the human body as a storyteller. They reimagine spatial georeferences of depopulated Palestinian villages to effect a roadmap to return, even if surreal.

An added conceptual layer was a pin to be affixed to the scarves to indicate a specific village. The pin could have highlighted the wearer’s village of origin or generally express a spirit of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. An attached label with a QR code would have provided an interactive experience to the user, whereby they could scan over the scarf to discover the villages and their population sizes. This part of the prototype was not executed.

In collaboration with: 
Ahmad Barclay, Joumana Al-Jabri, Ramzi Jaber, Julia Tierney


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