This Pakistani Guy Is Showing The Whole World How The Syrian War Affects All Of Us

By Sajeer Shaikh | 22 Jul, 2017

For those of you who aren’t familiar with his previous work, meet Asad J. Malik, also known as, 1RIC.

1RIC is Asad’s pseudonym. He is a designer and artist who works primarily with the Microsoft Hololens.

Source: Asad J. Malik


One of his most recent projects is perhaps the most striking and impactful one; bringing the war in Syria to safe and familiar spaces in the USA. 

Source: Asad J. Malik

Speaking to MangoBaaz about his project, Asad revealed, “When I was in Pakistan, the presence of war was very real. However, when I moved to US, I realized that it was very different. Factually, the country was at war. Moreover, the images of war existed as well, but the war itself was missing. Therefore, I drew inspiration from artist Martha Rosler’s body of work, ‘House Beautiful: Bringing The War Home.’ It was a series of collages that brought together images from the war in Vietnam and images of beautifully designed American homes.

Similarly, I took images from the war in Syria and placed them in people’s personal space. The project comes out of my experience of growing up in Pakistan juxtaposed with my life in the US as a Liberal Arts student in the political climate of 2017. It highlights the idea of war being a simulation through an augmented reality simulation”


The images are seen to be strikingly different from the peaceful backdrop onto which they are projected.

This is how he highlights the stark difference between the effects of war in Syria and the US.

Source: Asad J. Malik


Elaborating on the execution of the idea of bringing the war in Syria into people’s daily life, Asad says that his work is primarily about the “shock factor”

Source: Asad J. Malik

“It was important to use flat images instead of 3D models so that the project doesn’t become about realism but about the concept of these images becomes more compelling and immediate once they interact with our personal space. I placed these images in various places in the US like Maui (HI) and San Fransisco. I also put it up as an installation at the Visual and Performing Arts Centre at Bennington College. Viewers said that the project completely changed their perspective of spaces they were familiar with.”


The projected images are, undoubtedly, powerful enough to be able to invoke a certain sense of empathy.

Source: Asad J. Malik

People need to be made uncomfortable within their personal spaces to try to understand how this hologram is a reality for those who reside in war-torn countries. It shakes and disturbs people, thereby helping them empathize better.”


 A video that captures the reactions of people who were able to see these holograms is also on 1RIC’s Facebook page: 

Holograms from Syria

When I got back from school on a particularly warm Spring day in 2011, the TV told me that Osama Bin Ladin had been killed 5 minutes away from the hospital I was born in. I was raised in Pakistan, a country where the impact of the post 9/11 war on terror were felt in everyday life. The images of violence that frequented our television screens were from the same cities and towns we populated.Since I’ve moved to the US, the images of war have followed. Cat videos, Trump memes, mutilated dead bodies in Syria, beautifully designed mattress ads one after the other on a scrolling newsfeed. The country is at war but something’s fundamentally different; there is no war. At least not here. No drones in the sky, no fear of public spaces, no reason to hide. Here the war is merely in rising defense stock and a series of images on a 4 inch screen. A simulation for a country stuck between the bomb & the supermarket.FIND OUT MORE –

Posted by 1RIC on Donnerstag, 22. Juni 2017

The project is undoubtedly brilliant and thought-provoking, forcing those who may not have previously empathized with the plight of the Syrians to do so after having their personal bubbles disrupted. Perhaps, we need more of such disruptions in our daily lives to help ignite the spark of empathy that seems to be missing in many of us.

What do you have to say about this project? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Cover image via: Asad J. Malik

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