Greetings, curious one!
My name is Mariam. I am the content creator of Beyond Babylonia — All entries, art pieces, concepts, and research posted on this blog are my own creations, unless specifically stated.
Who am I?
I am an Arab-American twenty-something female, belonging to a Middle Eastern heritage. I realise this is a terrible answer; please scroll down for a better answer.
Am I an Aesthetic Engineer yet?
Simon Blackburn coined the term “Conceptual Engineering” to refer to the rigorous workings of some Philosophers. It’s only a matter of time before all Graphic Designers will use and abuse the term “Aesthetic Engineering” to refer to their work, whether or not they (and their work) are noble and qualified enough for such a grandiose term! *shudder* (Do I sound pompous yet? I hope not 😀 Perhaps I have not yet earned the title “Aesthetic Engineer”…but one day I know I will.)
One of my areas of interest is in the role Typography plays in language acquisition.
Language acquisition in one’s primary language: such as drafting and designing typefaces in Roman and Arabic characters that could serve as tools for dyslexics to rise above their struggle, and will open new doors for them to acquire other languages (as long as the tools engineered with dyslexics in mind are available in those languages).
Language Acquisition in foreign or secondary languages: I also pay attention to how speakers of one language can pick up on reading and writing in another language which shares its similar semantics, but differs in script. I will dedicate several posts on this blog concerning my life-long advocacy in preserving the Neo-Aramaic (Assyrian) language AND script in the contemporary “Arabised” Levant and Mesopotamia.
Also regarding language: I frequently swap between American and British spelling. Both are correct, and are a result of my upbringing in the U.S. and abroad. This is a blog, so there may not be consistency between one spelling or the other.
In some of my leisure time, I like to explore different cities and countries, paint, read, climb mountains, star gaze, and write. All the while, I am only partially experiencing the reality, as I spend many of those moments exploring the depths of my own mind and wandering off in my imagination. For that reason, I am terrible at playing cards and poker, but love chess. Wait, where was I?
Years ago, I remember being teased by a peer for suggesting that Graphic Design is not just visual communication, because in the world of the visually impaired and the blind, Graphic Design cannot be recognised. It was mind-boggling; ideas began to brew in my mind about how Graphic Designers can use their skills in visual layout design, to create tactile layout design. Instead of eye-balling where different elements go on a composition, they are forced to “feel” the Braille and to think of all possibilities that might obstruct or frustrate our visually impaired target audience (of course, that would require learning to interpret Braille systems). Anyway, just an idea.
One-dimensionality bothers me. I try to think of critical ways products of Typography, Type-Design, and Graphic Design can actually be USED and contribute positively to a very specific group of people, whilst also being aesthetically pleasant to look at (or feel, such as the case with Braille).
I LOVE LANGUAGES ( and other things I love):
As a fervent linguaphile, I could drown myself in the history of any particular language (or branch of languages). A timeline is conceived in my mind as I examine every detail of how the language evolved through the ages, and often, timelines in my mind will intersect if I note two or more languages coming into contact with one another. I am easily mesmerised by letterforms, including their most minuscule features and unique details that make each letterform so…ENTRANCING!
Animal Rights. I am very vocal about ethical treatment of animals, wildlife conservation, and intelligence in the Animal Kingdom (although I will say this: I am not vegan). I support the research that shows whales and dolphins (Cetaceans) having sophisticated methods of communication. This includes the creative use of expressions and the inventing of new ‘clicks’ that can be understood by their whole pod, but not by other pods (I will elaborate more on that later…someday!).
Ancient History: Preservation of manuscripts, safeguarding antiquities, breaking codes, techniques on how archaic inscriptions (“Cuneiform” and hieroglyphics) have been deciphered, and early folklore, are just a few from a MYRIAD of my interests in Ancient (Mesopotamian, Arabian, and Near-Eastern) History. Although the interests I’ve listed tend to migrate toward other regions of the world; I’d love to learn more on American (pre-Columbian) civilisation, too.
Plots, Quests, Narrations: There is a special art that comes in the form of creating an entire universe, plot designing, character development, etc. I appreciate and am impressed by them all. This type of work can be seen in the production of those working in the fields of animation, video game design, illustration, and visual narrators.
I have already begun illustrating the Epic of Gilgamesh in my spare time/weekends. It’s the most interesting piece of literature I’ve ever known. 4000 years later, and it is just as relevant…universal, and timeless. More on that project very soon!
Thank you for dropping by, curious stranger! I hope you will stick around. 🙂
Shlama. Shalom. Salam. Salome.
• Feel welcome to contact Mariam Alwazir at firstname.lastname@example.org