22 yards is an ongoing research project developed with Dr. Itzel Cruz Megchun, where weekly sport activities in the region (UAE) like cricket matches are mapped and studied as a possible platform for solving social integration issues.
Some parts of this research have been shown in several institutions like:

-Sharjah Art Foundation (opus 6). Map and Video installation

-Sharjah Art Foundation (Vantage Point 2). Photographic Footage

-Maraya Center (Pecha Kucha 6 lecture series)

-SIGRADI 2014 "Design in Freedom" conference (Montevideo, Uruguay). Paper

MUID at Polimi

22 YARDS, a video installation by Dr. Itzel Cruz Megchun & Juan Roldán for the exhibition OPUS 6. Sharjah Art Foundation, 2014 from hwan roldán on Vimeo.


This work aims to use urban interventions as a discursive instrument to make invisible practices into visible signs of cultural identity for people living or transiting Sharjah. This visual discourse is relevant as it does not only document the urban landscape, but it also explores the rituals and practices undertaken in a specific space (University Road). In opinion of Pink, “living life and making interventions are not detached from what and who we are - they are processes we are part of" (2012:25). Thus, practices and places are an intrinsic part of the collective memory of the people that transit these areas.
This research work examines the multicultural variety and identity in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), using urban spaces that reflect the distinct way of life of a group of people. It is regarded that citizens can transform mute and motionless cities or urban spaces into alternative spaces with significance. Researchers (La Varra, 2003) consider that communities can create alternative spaces that are self-regulated, which are more natural and less imposing. Hence, the features that characterize these spaces are related to the practices undertaken; the temporary nature of activities; and the determined time.
The collective memory of participants and observers emerge from the place-practice intervention, as an understanding of how minds work together in society and how their operations are structured by social agreements. Durkheim () and Halbwachs (1950) recognized that conforming group memberships are essential for providing materials for memory and for prodding the individual into recalling particular events and into forgetting others. What individuals remember is determined by their group membership and their own perception.
This work considers six main divisions where discusses the theory and praxis that is relevant for the urban intervention designed in the urban spaces of University road, Sharjah. The first section covers the theoretical underpinning of the project in which is discussed the place (Sharjah) and practice (cricket) found in an arterial route of Sharjah; the rituals undertaken by members of a social group; the memory and cultural identity held by these groups; and the visual discourse of the urbanization. The second section describes the research methodology used throughout the project. The third section covers as a case study the intervention and then the fourth section discusses the findings obtained. The fifth section provides conclusions and resources to finally draw lines for future research actions.

"Place Makers"
"Place-Makers". Video Installation project. In collaboration with Professor MariaTheresa Mortera (CAA AUS) from hwan roldán on Vimeo.


Place-Makers is an installation that aims to connect with the viewers and invite them to be active observers of urban activities. It seeks to raise awareness about how mundane activities become active layers in the making of tradition, identity and memory of city landscapes. Cities become alive when their inhabitants take claim of spaces. In this case, we use sports as formal (basketball) and informal (cricket) rituals that shape the city landscape. The installation captures the act of space making by mapping sports based practices from various locations throughout Dubai and Sharjah. Social actors engaging in spatial traditions delineated by specific boundaries such as basketball courts to the unmarked cricket pitches of empty fields generate an understanding of scale and the movement of the body in the urban context. The disjointed nature of the sporadic sites are abstracted, reformatted and re-contextualized to exist in one space. Four projectors simultaneous stream content to overlay the various systems of spatial practice and the structured time based rituals specific to each site. It is a virtual experience that navigates between time, space and the perspective of the human body.

This project builds upon the idea that the interactions that inhabitants have in their activities create invisible marks that leave visible trace in the memory of the society. With this work, we aim to unveil these visible and invisible movements created through spatial traditions in the urban space of Dubai and Sharjah.

Social constructivism was used as a scope to understand the fundamental structures of consciousness in relation to experiencing the urban contest. One of our main methods was visual ethnography to collect visual images that represented the ground floor of the human activities [place-practice] from an elevation position using a drone. Through this visual imagery it was created an installation that synthesized the movement creating marks that evolve in traces that are left as invisible marks of the practice-place activity. Then, these bi-dimensional traces overlap with the tridimensional survey of the human appreciation of the place-practice.