Biography



Born in a cabin without electricity in the forested mountains of northern California, Levi Hammett developed a deep interest in landscape and the concept of location. This interest evolved into a creative practice that uses design to explore the variety of ways people interface with and relate to the spaces around them and how these relationships influence the development of both identity and culture.
    These concepts are explored using computational processes involving code and automation to inform the creation of handcrafted design products that reinterpret the unconventional and overlooked aspects of a variety of spaces and locations. The resulting products use ambiguity and open interpretation to engage users in a deeper understanding of their physical world. 
His work spans a range of projects which include a series of hand-made Islamic carpets that explore the urban culture of the Arabian Peninsula, a kinetic installation using 40 printers suspended from the ceiling outputting procedurally generated visual content, and an interactive installation for the World War II Normandy Visitors Center in France1. His Patterns of Human Behavior series is part of the private collection of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who has been recognized as one of the most influential art collectors in the world2. His work has been published in print and online collections, distributed as digital applications, and exhibited in Asia, Europe, the Middle-East, South America, and the United States.
    Levi Hammett received his MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006.Currently, he is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar where he teaches a range of classes which explore computational design, graphic product design, and the design of culturally critical objects.
1. Hammett, Levi., & John Caserta. Voices of Soldiers (Interactive Digital Interface). WWII Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center, Colleville-sur-Mer, France. 2007.

2. Nayeri, Farah. Bloomberg. Sheikha Mayassa Tops Art Power List, October 24, 2013. (link)

3. Hammett, Levi. Deliberate removal : creating space for participation. 2006. 224 pages : illus. (chiefly color) ; 22 cm. GRAPH 2006 .H36



-162°C, Doha




This project explores the economic connections that are driving the rapid growth of Qatar as it prepares for the world cup in 2022.
    At -162°C natural gas becomes liquid, reducing in volume by a factor of over 600, the key innovation that makes it an economically viable trade commodity. LNG is Qatar’s main export, with Japan being its largest customer and a primary source of revenue for this small yet influential gulf nation. Although mostly economic, this exchange impacts the culture, lifestyle, and geopolitics of both countries.
    This kinetic installation consists of an array of 40 printers suspended from the ceiling. The array is controlled by custom software that choreographs the printing of text and images extracted from the internet and synthesized into graphic compositions. The resulting performance ebbs and flows in varying intervals, exploring the constant exchange that feeds the economies of both Qatar and Japan.

As this project explores ties between two countries, it was conceived as two exhibitions taking place in each nation's capital city, Tokyo and Doha. The installations occurred in sequence, 3 months apart, and took slightly different approaches (both formally and conceptually) to exploring the economic, social, and cultural implications of the energy trade between these distant neighbors.
    The Doha exhibition was the result of a collaboration between faculty and students at VCUarts Qatar, Texas A&M University In Qatar, and Tokyo Metropolitan University’s AIIT. The work was made possible with support from the VCUarts Qatar/Qatar Foundation Faculty Research Grant program, The Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology at Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tasmeem Doha, the Qatar Museum Authority / Doha Fire Station, and Arakawa Tokyo.

Hammett, Levi., Giovanni Innella, Simone Muscolino, Michael Hersrud, Maryam Al Homaid, Nathan Davis, Hind Al Saad, Sarah Elawad, & Reham Ahmed. -162°C, Doha. (Installation of 40 printers outputting procedurally generated visual content). The Fire Station, Gallery 3. 14 - 25 March, 2019.
Special thanks to Geogre Paul, Adam Cath, and the Sophomore Graphic Design students at VCUarts Qatar.


-162°C, Tokyo




This project explores the economic connections contributing to Japan's current energy strategy as it has evolved away from nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
    At -162°C natural gas becomes liquid, reducing in volume by a factor of over 600, the key innovation that makes it an economically viable export. Japan is the largest importer of Qatari LNG and is projected to continue shifting its infrastructure toward using LNG as a primary source of energy. Although mostly economic, this exchange impacts the culture, lifestyle, and geopolitics of both countries.
    This kinetic installation is composed of 41 printers organized into 3 spatial constructs, each suspended from the ceiling in different locations within the space. Each construct is controlled by custom software that choreographs the printing of text and images extracted from the internet and synthesized into graphic compositions. The resulting performance ebbs and flows in varying intervals, exploring the constant exchange that feeds the economies of both Qatar and Japan.
As this project explores ties between two countries, it was conceived as two exhibitions taking place in each nation's capital city, Tokyo and Doha. The installations occurred in sequence, 3 months apart, and took slightly different approaches (both formally and conceptually) to exploring the economic, social, and cultural implications of the energy trade between these distant neighbors.
    The Tokyo exhibition was the result of a collaboration between faculty and students at VCUarts Qatar and Tokyo Metropolitan University’s AIIT. The work was made possible with support from the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology at Tokyo Metropolitan University, W+K Tokyo, and Arakawa Tokyo.

Hammett, Levi., Giovanni Innella, Junichi Kanebako, Simone Muscolino, Michael Hersrud, Maryam Al Homaid, Nathan Davis, Hind Al Saad, Sarah Elawad, & Reham Ahmed. -162°C, Tokyo. (Installation of 41 printers outputting procedurally generated visual content). Wieden & Kennedy Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. 13 - 20 December, 2018.


The People’s
Mashrabiya



The People’s Mashrabiya is a hand-made wood screen constructed of over 1300 individual wood blocks. Each block uses one of four types of hardwood (maple, beech, walnut, and wenge) to provide simple pixelated graphics using four shades of color. The blocks compose a motif of abstracted human figures representing the different cultures and socio-economic groups living in Doha.
    Architecturally, Mashrabiya are perforated wood screens composed of intricate geometric patterns used as both interior and exterior architectural elements. The Mashrabiya is a significant component in traditional Islamic architecture functioning as a semipermeable screen between the public spaces of the city and the private interiors of the family.1
    Below is an example of an Islamic style Mashrabiya in Cairo from the late 19th century.fig. 1 


This project engages with these concepts of public and private space within the context of contemporary Arabian-Gulf cities whose population has swelled exponentially since the turn of the millennium. This growth is primarily due to a rapid influx of both skilled and unskilled migrant workers who travel to the region to provide labor across a range of sectors including education, finance, construction, and other service industries. The resulting diversity of population along with other forces of globalization have dramatically changed the social landscape of these cities. Against this context, the project explores the historical and religious foundations of privacy as they collide with the complex and changing realities of public space and the rapidly growing diversity in the region.
    The People’s Mashrabiya is a collaboration between Levi Hammett & Maryam Al Homaid based on research conducted by Levi Hammett & Pornprapha Phatanateacha. This project was supported by the VCUarts Qatar/Qatar Foundation Faculty Research Grant program.
Hammett, Levi., Maryam Al Homaid, Pornprapha Phatanateacha. The People’s Mashrabiya. Hand-made wood screen, maple, beech, walnut, wenge. 78cm x 210cm x 3cm. 2018.

Exhibitions & Publications:

[Re]Action, Gallery 18, Katara Cultural Village, Doha, Qatar. (Juried, Group Exhibition, National). 28 November - 31 December 2018.

Bangkok Design Week 2018, Thailand Creative Design Center, Bangkok, Thailand. (Juried, Group Exhibition, International). 26 January - 5 February, 2018.
1. Ashour, Ayman Fathy. “Islamic Architectural Heritage: Mashrabiya”. WIT Transactions on The Built Environment, Vol. 177 (2018) 245-253. ISSN 1743-3509

Fig.1. G. Lekegian and Company. No. 74, “Rue Bab el Vazir”. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 2001.161.27


Urban Intervals



The city of Doha, Qatar is undergoing rapid urban growth. In the last decade the population of the city has more than doubled,1 with the urban infrastructure struggling to keep pace.2 The urban identity itself is a victim of this growth, with many iconic districts and landmarks from the 80’s and 90’s being demolished to make room for modern infrastructure and new development. These districts, patterns of infrastructure, and daily behavior are not generally valued as culturally relevant, despite the fact that they carry great significance to the actual cultural identity of the city.
    The Urban Intervals hand-knotted carpet is the first entry in a series of carpets that explore unconventional cultural elements in the gulf region. Urban Intervals focuses on Doha’s overlooked architectural landmarks from the 1980’s and 1990’s, abstracting them into visual patterns and re-contextualizing them into the cultural format of the Islamic carpet, where viewers are prompted to engage with them as cultural elements.
Patterns of Human Behavior is a series of hand-made carpets used as a mechanism to document unconventional cultural patterns, local identities, and urban behaviors. Each of these carpets is carefully hand-made preserving the traditional islamic carpet practices of preparing local wool, hand-dyeing the fiber with natural ingredients, and hand-tying the design one knot at a time.
    The series was conceived of by Levi Hammett, based on a previous research project by Levi Hammett & Pornprapha Phatanateacha. The carpet motifs were developed in collaboration with Qatari designer and artist Maryam Al Homaid.
1. United Nations. Demographic Yearbook. United Nations, 2013. Retrieved August 2013. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/

2. Qatar Statistics Authority. Population 2012. Qatar Statistics Authority, 2012. Retrieved August 2013. http://www.qsa.gov.qa/eng/publication/annabs/2012/1_Population2012.pdf
Hammett, Levi., Maryam Al Homaid, & Pornprapha Phatanateach. Urban Intervals. Hand-dyed wool, hand-knotted carpet. 104cm x 182cm. Edition of 3. 2013.

Exhibitions & Publications:

Edition 1 held in the private collection of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Doha, Qatar. (International).

Poonsap, Supakdipa. The Bubble Breakers (Feature article), Vogue Thailand. Bangkok, Thailand. Print. (National) August 2018.

Bangkok Design Week 2018, Thailand Creative Design Center, Bangkok, Thailand. (Juried, Group Exhibition, International). 26 January - 5 February, 2018.

Strange Wonders, Musheireb Enrichment Center, Doha, Qatar. (Juried, Group Exhibition, Catalog, National). April, 2014.

QPop, Design Days Dubai, Dubai, UAE. (Invited, Group Exhibition, Catalog, International). March 2014.

Hammett, Levi (Lead Author)., Pornprapha Phatanateacha, & Maryam Al Homaid. Cultural Camouflage: Transcribing Unconventional Cultural Patterns into Commercial Products. (Presentation). Tenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability, Split, Croatia. (Juried, Presentation, International). January, 2014.

Khaleeji Contemporary. DFI Film Festival, Katara Art Center, Doha, Qatar. (Juried, Group Exhibition, National). 27-30 November, 2013.


Transit



The Transit carpet explores the car culture and associated roundabout architecture that was a prominent feature of khaleeji cities (particularly Doha) until recently (where many roundabouts have been demolished and replaced with more efficient traffic signal type intersections). The demolition of these roundabouts has had a notable effect on traffic efficiency in Doha, but at significant cost to the visual identity of the city.


Patterns of Human Behavior is a series of hand-made carpets used as a mechanism to document unconventional cultural patterns, local identities, and urban behaviors. Each of these carpets is carefully hand-made preserving the traditional islamic carpet practices of preparing local wool, hand-dyeing the fiber with natural ingredients, and hand-tying the design one knot at a time.
    The series was conceived of by Levi Hammett, based on a previous research project by Levi Hammett & Pornprapha Phatanateacha. The carpet motifs were developed in collaboration with Qatari designer and artist Maryam Al Homaid.

Fig.1. Rainbow Roundabout.

Fig.2. Demolition of Rainbow Roundabout in 2014.

Fig.3. Demolition of Oryx Roundabout in 2015.
Hammett, Levi., Maryam Al Homaid, & Pornprapha Phatanateacha. Transit. Hand-dyed wool, hand-knotted carpet. 104cm x 182cm. Edition of 3. 2015.

Exhibitions & Publications:

Edition 1 held in the private collection of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Doha, Qatar. (International).

D’Souza, Priya., Nadia Y. Abudayeh. Cultivating the Arts. Doha, Qatar: Akkadia Press. p. 119. (Published image) 2019.

Poonsap, Supakdipa. The Bubble Breakers (Feature article), Vogue Thailand. Bangkok, Thailand. Print. (National) August 2018.

Bangkok Design Week 2018, Thailand Creative Design Center, Bangkok, Thailand. (Juried, Group Exhibition, International). 26 January - 5 February, 2018.

Form(Force), The Gallery, VCUQatar, Doha, Qatar. (Juried, Group Exhibition, National). March 2017.
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