Page 1




CONTENTS 2-3 Contents 4-5

Waraqa Feature

6-7 Preface 8-9

Antiterritorial concept artwork

10-11 Species File : Apis Mellifera Syriaca 12-13 DIY: Waraqa Wax seed node joint 14

Local Business Advertisements, Love Damascus


Article: Tents Designed for a nomadic lifestyle, by Vera Ceginskas Lindström

16-17 The Waraqa Structure 18-19 Article: The Syrian Seed Bank, by Somini Sengupta 20-21 DIY: Waraqa paper making 22-23 Fact File: Intelligent Ink 24-25 Waraqa’s intelligent ink : exposing dust 26-27 Fact File: AQI (Air Quality Index) 28-29 Waraqa Feature 30-31 Waraqa Image Gallery 32-33 Waraqa Ecosystem of interactions 34-35 Waraqa’s lifecycle: Artist’s impression




“Damascus is my Dre

eam and Honour� anon. 5

PREFACE ONCE known as the Fertile Crescent, and thriving as a key link in the Silk Road, Syria’s history in agriculture, craft and natural diversity is rich. Before the war, Syria was the 2nd largest producer of Cotton in the world, after India. Wheat is its largest producing crop type, yielding over 2 million tonnes in 2013, and the warmer mediterranean climate of the West offers good soil for olive groves and citrus fruit. Syria has its own native species of honey bee - the Apis mellifera syriaca - and pre war statistics state over 365,000 hives country wide. Awassi Sheep are well suited to the dryer, semi-arid climates as they require less water, and produce more milk than the average sheep. The Bedouin tribes of the east commonly use goat hair to build their unique tent abodes, and have grown an entire culture around desert living. Desert covers 60% of its land. And Syria’s Seed Bank offers great insight into the diverse plantlife that has prospered in these harsher conditions over the years. However, the severe drought which plagued Syria from 2007-10, proved too wicked, and caused as many as 1.5 million people to migrate from the countryside into cities, exacerbating poverty and social unrest. And then came the Civil War...





Image Source: www.biolib.cz

SPECIES FACT FILE: Beekeeping in Syria (2003) Gilles Fert


The Native Honey Bees Syria belongs to one of those countries lucky enough to have a native species of honey bees. Apis mellifera syriaca are found everywhere in the country as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and the northern part of Iraq. These yellow-coloured bees look like the Italian honey bees (ligustica) being only slightly smaller with the last two tergites grey (photo 2). These bees are very gentle in the eastern and southern parts of the country where the race has remained genetically pure. In addition, they are very well adapted to their habitat and are very resistant to droughts unlike the foreign bees which never survive more that one season. It is only on the Mediterranean coastline that the bees are highly crossed-bred with Italian and Carniolan (carnica) bees illegally imported by beekeepers in order to produce more. This, unfortunately, produces an aggressive breed which needs to be fed with sugary syrup during the winter season. This is the reason why most Syrian beekeepers wish to go back to the original native bees and would like to start a selected breed which would be as productive as the foreign bees. The Flora The main honey flows: • • • • • • • • •

citrus trees eucalyptus globulus, grandis anise sunflowers fruit trees (almond trees, apple trees) mountain plants (thyme, rosemary, cistus, thistles) cotton euphorbia heathers erica, calluna

Syrian Beekeeping There are 365,000 hives and the official production is 1,750 tonnes a year. Eighty per cent of the hives belong to the divisible Langstroth-type; the rest being the traditional types. The beekeeper can live off his production when he owns at least 100 hives. Transhumant hives produce an average of 20 to 25 kg of honey. Compared to the international market prices, the local honey selling price is very high - from 7 €uros/kg for cotton or sunflower honey to 24 €uros/kg for thyme honey. This honey is sold in specialized shops and in the numerous souks of big cities. Some important quantities are used to make glacés fruits but contrary to the Maghreb countries, honey is hardly used to make pastries. According to the first writings of Abu Hamid al Ghazzali and Abu Kaim al Jausieh honey has always been regarded as a supreme medicine in Syria. Some fine honeys such as thyme honey are exported to the Gulf countries but this only represents 30 tonnes a year. www.apiservices.biz


STEP ONE : WHAT YOU NEED • 6 pounds of beeswax (equiv. 30 dinner candles) • 2 plastic moulds for a half sphere (15cm diam.) • 3D printed WARAQA joint (avail. open source file) • Bag of seeds (as desired) • Lighter / stove-top and pot to melt • Hand drill • 1.5m length of 10mm diam plastic tube (2mm thickness) • Tape (non-porous, such as duct or electrical) STEP TWO : Place the 3D printed joint in place in the centre of the half sphere mould with temporary sticks , and mark the points to drill STEP THREE : Drill the holes for all 15 rods, plus an additional small hole in the top , and check the alignment with the 3d joint

STEP FOUR: Cut the plastic tube into 15x 10cm length through the drilled holes to secure the 3D joint in plac

STEP FIVE: Melt the wax, mix in the seeds, and pour i through the colours to create desired pattern, until the

STEP SIX: Take the second half sphere mould, insert th and cover the inner surface with a layer of melted wax

STEP SEVEN: Attach the two half spheres with genero remaining melted wax through the extra top hole, unti STEP EIGHT: Leave it to cool over night

STEP NINE: Remove tape, plastic tubes and plastic mo


h, and push ce

in batches, alternating e half is filled

he remaining plastic rods, of differing colours.

ous water-tight taping, and pour the il the mould is filled

ould, shave off excess wax, polish smooth any unevenness - and there you have it.



By Vera Ceginskas Lindström, Lund University

Bedou = inhabitant of the desert. The Bedouin are an Arab semi-nomadic ethnic group in North Africa and Middle East descended from nomads who historically inhibited the Syrian and Arabian deserts. The Bedouin live in woollen tents, called Black tents. Herding goats and camels are a part of the traditional Bedouin culture. The goats and camels follow the Bedouin through the desert and provide them with milk, meat and wool. –> for making tents! Being a desert nomad means living in full contact with the arid environment of the desert with its hot climate, dry sand and high diurnal temperature variations. The Black tents are well designed to fit that lifestyle. They are lightweight, portable, foldable and can easily be put up and packed down. The woollen tent cloth of the Black tents also provides a dense shade in the daytime and protects against the cold in the night.

The traditional Black tent membrane is made from goat’s and camel’s wool and handwoven by the Bedouin women on ground looms. The woven rugs are used for the floors, walls and ceilings of the Bedouin dwelling. So the textile tradition is very much a part of their architecture -they are weaving architecture here! Image source: nomad.org (Institute of Nomadic Architecture)





CANE , from the Mediterranean Western Coast

GOATS HAIR , woven by desert Bedouins BEE�S WAX from Damascene bee-keepers DAMASCUS PAPER, made with local Cotton fibres, and laced with native wild-seeds


SYRIA’S SEED BANK How a Seed Bank, Almost Lost in Syria’s War, Could Help Feed a Warming Planet

Ali Shehadeh, a plant conservationist from Syria who fled the war in his country, at work in Terbol, Lebanon. CreditCreditDiego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Specimens in Terbol. Icarda drew on a backup copy of its collection, stored in Norway, to start the new operation.CreditDiego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Preparing samples in Terbol. Mr. Shehadeh does not know the fate of Icarda’s seed collection back in Aleppo, Syria. CreditDiego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Icarda’s greenhouses in Terbol, in the Bekka Valley not far from Lebanon’s border with Syria. The group also has an office in Morocco and runs projects in India and Sudan.CreditDiego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

By Somini Sengupta - NEW YORK TIMES

Oct. 13, 2017

TERBOL, Lebanon — Ali Shehadeh, a seed hunter, opened the folders with the greatest of care. Inside each was a carefully dried and pressed seed pod: a sweet clover from Egypt, a wild wheat found only in northern Syria, an ancient variety of bread wheat. He had thousands of these folders stacked neatly in a windowless office, a precious herbarium, containing seeds foraged from across the hot, arid and increasingly inhospitable region known as the Fertile Crescent, the birthplace of farming. Mr. Shehadeh is a plant conservationist from Syria. He hunts for the genes contained in the seeds we plant today and what he calls their “wild relatives” from long ago. His goal is to safeguard those seeds that may be hardy enough to feed us in the future, when many more parts of the world could become as hot, arid and inhospitable as it is here. But searching for seeds that can endure the perils of a hotter planet has not been easy. It has thrown Mr. Shehadeh and his organization, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, or Icarda, squarely at a messy intersection of food, weather and war. Icarda, though it received no state funding, was once known as a darling of the Syrian government. Based in Aleppo, its research had helped to make Syria enviably self-sufficient in wheat production. But a drive to produce thirsty crops also drained Syria’s underground water over the years, and it was followed by a crippling drought that helped to fuel the protests that erupted into armed revolt against the government in 2011. Icarda, in turn, became a casualty of the war. By 2014, the fighting drew closer to its headquarters in Aleppo and its sprawling field station in nearby Tal Hadya. Icarda’s trucks were stolen. Generators vanished. Most of the fattailed Awassi sheep, bred to produce more milk and require less water, were looted and eaten. Mr. Shehadeh and the other scientists eventually sent out what they could — including a few of the sheep — and fled, joining half the country’s population in exile. And Icarda’s most vital project — a seed bank containing 155,000 varieties of the region’s main crops, a sort of agricultural archive of the Fertile Crescent — faced extinction. But the researchers at Icarda had a backup copy. Beginning in 2008, long before the war, Icarda had begun to send seed samples — “accessions” as they are called — to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the so-called doomsday vault, burrowed into the side of a mountain on a Norwegian island above the Arctic Circle. It was standard procedure, in case anything happened. War happened. In 2015, as Aleppo disintegrated, Icarda’s scientists borrowed some of the seeds they had stored in Svalbard and began building anew. This time, they spread out, setting up one seed bank in Morocco and another just across Syria’s border with Lebanon in this vast valley of cypress and grapes known as the Bekaa. “We are doing our best to recreate everything we had in Aleppo,” Mr. Shehadeh said. The Aleppo headquarters still contains the largest collection of seeds from across the region — 141,000 varieties of wheat, barley, lentils, fava and the like — though neither Mr. Shehadeh nor his colleagues know what shape it’s in. They haven’t been able to return. Seed banks have always served as important repositories of biodiversity. But they’re even more crucial, said Tim Benton, a food security expert at the University of Leeds, at a time when the world needs crops that can adapt to the rapid onset of climate change. “We have to grow considerably different things in considerably different ways,” Mr. Benton said. “Certainly for our prime crops, like wheat, the wild relatives are thought to be really important because of the genes that can be crossed back into the wheat lines we have in order to build resilience and adaptation to climate change.” Especially important, Mr. Benton said, because they could easily vanish without protection.



*For cotton paper, extract the fibe beating the stalks. After extracting them submerged in the water for a

PREP Large tub container filled half with water, smaller bucket for blending, and Paper mix as desired - Recycled paper, cotton, fibres, felt *

BUILD a wooden frame with mesh (eg. cheesecloth or fine wire) to fit the size of your tube COLLECT wild seeds

BLEND paper mix + 3 parts w

TRANSFER blend to larger tub

BLEND to a fine pulp

ADD in seeds a and stir

SUBMERGE frame in the tub of pulp, and slowly lift through the pulp, until there is a thin layer of pulp upon the mesh. Pat down and filter any excess water

ROLL the pape dry, then return well aired place

STIR in felt or other soft, fluffy colour mix for paper

ers from the cotton plant by boiling then g these, let them cool and moisten by leaving a week.

mix with water , 2 parts paper water


and 2 tablespoons of starch

er to desired thinness, once semin to mesh, and leave in a sunny, e to dry (1-2 days)


Normally, a dye on the surface of a photocatalyst would be oxidised like any other organic material. However, other more easily oxidised ingredients within the ink allow the dye to be chemically reduced instead. The end result is that, instead of being destroyed, the dye within the ink is transformed and simply changes colour.

Normal “invisible ink”

“In our UV activated, oxygen sensitive ink, titania nanoparticles upon exposure to a short burst of UV light are able to oxidize an organic in the ink and simultaneously reduce a dye that is also present” Dr. Andrew Mills tells Nanowerk. “This redox dye is highly colored in its original (oxidized) form) but colorless in its reduced form. Most importantly, the latter is also oxygen sensitive. So that upon UV activation the highly colored ink bleaches and is oxygen sensitive, only regaining its color upon exposure to air.” Prof. Andrew Mills, Queens University Belfast

Colour Change Ink tra


Organic compounds + Oxygen

Methylene blue

Carbon Dioxide + Water + Mineral Acids

Ultraviolet Light

� transformation on photocatalytic surface, exposed to Oxygen

Titanium Dioxide Organic compounds + Oxygen

Methylene blue

Carbon Dioxide + Water + Mineral Acids

Ultraviolet Light

ansformation on photocatalytic surface, exposed to Oxygen


TIME Oxidised Ink exposed to UV reveals PINK dye (blue dye has been reduced)

Over time ink becom of dust, preventing ox

mes covered in a layer xidation

Ink returns to unoxidised BLUE state (non-reduced form)


AQI | AIR QUALITY INDEX WHAT IS YOUR AIR DOING TO YOU “AQI, or Air Quality Index, is a system for translating sometimes confusing or unintuitive pollutant concentration measurements, into one easy-to-understand scale to clearly represent the health risk posed by ambient air pollution. The index formula usually considers up to 6 main pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ground level ozone), and calculates the respective health risk (or AQI number) for each one at any given time. The overall AQI number at a given moment is dictated by the "riskiest" pollutant, with the highest AQI number.� IQ AIR

Image Source: airvisual.com

? Image Source: waqi.info “Ambient air pollution Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide per year in 2016; this mortality is due to exposure to small particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM2.5), which cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers. People living in low- and middle-income countries disproportionately experience the burden of outdoor air pollution with 91% (of the 4.2 million premature deaths) occurring in low- and middle-income countries, and the greatest burden in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions. The latest burden estimates reflect the very significant role air pollution plays in cardiovascular illness and death. More and more, evidence demonstrating the linkages between ambient air pollution and the cardiovascular disease risk is becoming available, including studies from highly polluted areas. WHO estimates that in 2016, some 58% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths were due to ischaemic heart disease and strokes, while 18% of deaths were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute lower respiratory infections respectively, and 6% of deaths were due to lung cancer...� World Health Organisation








People of Syria


From your mouth to the sky

Blind people see my art and deaf people hear my words

You are a rose in my min

With the consent of my parents

Damascus is my dream and honour

If you cut m

The cou


Arabic Citizen

nd, and you grew in my heart

my flesh I bleed apples and grapes

We and the Moon are Neighbours

The best Medicine is to relax and breathe

We dont want rebels or militants - we are a rebellion of courage

untry is not a hotel, you don’t leave when things go bad

The sea is salty and people are opportunists



Pull the Paper

Write a message

Read other’s messages and check the ink colour for air quality indication

Ha str


ang it on a ring hook

Contribute to new plant growth Let the birds eat the seed inside the paper and make it fall



Wax melts, spreading seeds Seed paper falls to ground Plants grow from seeds Plants take over timber structure

• People fill lines with ha • Structure adopted for a • Filter papers grey with • Air monitoring data co



anging paper alternative uses than expected dust, are monthly replaced by citizen scientists onverted to public digital platform

• New wax nodes can be attached to existing bamboo sticks • Additional sticks can continue modular structure up, down or across the space


BIBLIOGRAPHY 10-11 Species File : Apis Mellifera Syriaca Fert G ( (n.d.) Beekeeping in Syria (2003). Apiservices. Available at: https://www.apiservices.biz/en/ articles/sort-by-popularity/898-beekeeping-in-syria-2003 (accessed 01/04/19). 14

Local Business Advertisements, Love Damascus

Anon ( (n.d.) Syrian Handicrafts. Syrian Handicrafts. Available at: http://www.lovedamascus.com/en/ syrian-handicrafts (accessed 01/04/19). 15

Article: Tents Designed for a nomadic lifestyle, by Vera Ceginskas Lindström

Vera Ceginskas Lindstrom (2016) BEDOUIN TENTS, BLACK WOOL AND A CACTUS. spatial experiments. Available at: https://spatialexperiments.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/bedouin-tents-blackwool-and-a-cactus/ (accessed 01/04/19). 18-19 Article: The Syrian Seed Bank, by Somini Sengupta Sengupta S (2017) How a Seed Bank, Almost Lost in Syria’s War, Could Help Feed a Warming Planet. The New York Times. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/ climate/syria-seed-bank.html (accessed 01/04/19). 22-23 Fact File: Inteligent Ink Michael and Berger (2008) Intelligent inks - now you see them, now you don’t. Nanowerk. Nanowerk. Available at: https://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=4104.php (accessed 01/04/19). Mills A ( (n.d.) The Science - The Intelligent Pen and Ink Company - Photocatalytic Testing Pens & Equipment. The Intelligent Pen and Ink Company. Available at: https://www.inkintelligent.com/thescience/ (accessed 01/04/19). 26-27 Fact File: AQI (Air Quality Index) Anon ( (n.d.) What is AQI? Support portal for AirVisual. Available at: http://support.airvisual.com/ knowledgebase/articles/1185775-what-is-aqi (accessed 01/04/19). The World Air Quality Index project ( (n.d.) World’s Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index. waqi.info. Available at: https://waqi.info/ (accessed 01/04/19).



Profile for smyliemeg

WARAQA Editorial - Paper against Conflict : Damascus Edition  

Waraqa Editorial is a mixed content publication, capturing the preface, intent and scope our student studio project "WARAQA" of the Self-suf...

WARAQA Editorial - Paper against Conflict : Damascus Edition  

Waraqa Editorial is a mixed content publication, capturing the preface, intent and scope our student studio project "WARAQA" of the Self-suf...

Profile for smyliemeg

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