Dubai Creek and WATERLICHT

During the opening weekend of Jameel Arts Centre in November last year, there was the Dubai edition of WATERLICHT, an immersive light installation by Daan Roosegaarde.

The installation also had audio which could be heard by visiting the Waterlicht Radio website.

The audio included an intro by Daan Roosegaarde, plus three separate recordings by Antonia Carver (Director of Art Jameel), Mohammed Somji (Photographer and Co-director of Gulf Photo Plus) and myself - each one of us shared our thoughts about the Dubai Creek. You can listen to the complete audio here.

The following is a transcript of my recording.

To me, the creek is the oldest landmark of Dubai and the true heart and centre of the city. 

It splits the city into two main sides, Deira and Bur Dubai. 

Two sides connected by bridges, and a tunnel, and abras transporting people back and forth. 

The creek was a place for trading dhows fishing, and even swimming.

The trade extended on to the mainland and the city started to grow.

Dubai Creek was the landmark in most of the postcards from the 1970s-80s. A proud representation of old and new in the city, the creek and the city's modern architecture. A representation of development, economic progress and ambitions. 

Overtime, 'old Dubai' came to mean anything by the creek. New Dubai is moving South. 

But changes to the creek continue to happen. 

The trading dhows have been replaced with floating restaurants.

The hand rowing abras are now motorised. 

Old buildings have been knocked down and replaced with new ones. 

Public spaces and parks have been replaced with hotels, new dining concepts and new buildings that are supposed to look old. Urbanism seeping through history and heritage. 

The creek has now been extended into a canal and has changed the shape of the city with the Dubai Water Canal. 

The creek will be the base for the next tallest building in the world - the Dubai Creek Tower.

The creek will be a harbour.

The creek will be a marina.

The creek will be a beach.

The creek will be the new, and I quote, "the new Riviera of the Middle East"