Friday, 30 July 2010

Bidoun Magazine at the New Museum - New York

Bidoun magazine is having an exhibition at the New Museum in New York showing books, literature and what is published in the Arab world for the public to see, read and discover. It could another installation where one has to scratch one's brains to understand the profound sense or the meaning of it. Or it could just be an attempt to promote culture from within. But will it be in Arabic, or English books? will the English books be a reflection of the inside, or just another view of the neo-Orientalists?
It will run from August 4th to Sept 26, 2010. If you have a chance to be in the neighborhood, let us know what it is really about!

link to the New Museum
Link to Bidoun Magazine

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Rivane Neuenschwander - I wish a wish

At the New Museum in New York, Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenshwander had an installation: I wish a wish.
Colored ribbons are hanging on holes in the walls, with wishes. From: I wish to be loved, to I wish to graduate, to I wish we could give back to earth what earth has given us etc... You can write your wish on a piece of paper and put it in a hole, or participate online. You can take a ribbon with a wish that pleases you and hang on your wrist with the hope that the wish will be fulfilled when the ribbon detaches.
There were two wish that were of some concern , "I wish for peace in Middle East" and "I wish for peace in Iraq and Afganistan". Wishing for peace is beautiful wish. But how the Middle East and Afganistan is the ultimate portrait of war, discrimination and abuse. Could we all wish for peace across the board, around the world? Could we wish for the end of fear to promote peace?

Link to the New Museum exhibition

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Forensic Artist in the New Museum- New York

Cary Lane is a forensic artist and an art teacher in New York. His performance at the New Museum is part of an installation by Rivane Neuenschwander, "A day like any other". The title of his act is called "My first love". The process and the works of a forensic artist is unravelled at a desk in the museum. Someone talks about his first love, how he remembers the face, the emotion of that memory, the precision of traits. With an extensive interview, the artist will draw the first love and will ask eventually to have the photo of that first love emailed to him to see the accuracy of his drawings. Forensic artists are put in the highlight, with the importance of their jobs at police stations around the US.
Have you ever heard of a forensic artist in the Arab world?

link to NYtimes article

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The New Museum - New York

The New Museum is a recent addition to New York skyline. Opened in dec 2007, it has a an intriguing sense of blocks ready to fall off, blocks with a sense of play time. White, airy and full of light architecture is at its best in innovation and adapting to the current environment.
Architects (Sanaa) from japan designed it,  in mind the inside before the outside, the works and needs inside the building before the outer looks.
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (the Sanaa team) are the 2010 laureate of the Pritzker architecture award, the most notorious award in architecture that gave Zaha Hadid, an award in 2004.
In the Arab world we are expecting all the new museums to start mushrooming in the UAE (from the Louvre to the Guggenheim etc) , the chosen architects were well established award winners. The next step would be to pick architects with talent and creativity and bet on their capacity to innovate, build a museum or anything and wait for the awards to be given...

The New Museum link
The Pritzker Award link

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Paige M. Gutenborg (print a book on demand)

Paige M. Gutenborg: a machine to print in minutes any given book. It is in the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge Massachusetts. It is a heavy investment for an independent bookstore, more than 100 000 usd, but as the owner of the bookstore, Mr Jeff Mayersohn, says :"We measure our business in awesomeness rather than in dollars." The opportunity to create with this machine is endless and it is a combination of the physical books with the new technology. Bookstores cannot keep a large inventory of all, they compete with giants like Amazon but with this service of books' database from Google and others, Harvard Bookstore can be ahead in the market. Mr Mayersohn said that in the Middle East, this machine is available and he mentioned the one at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. It would be commendable to see such inventions at every independent bookstore in every capital of the Arab world, where anyone could come up with his pdf file and print out copies of his creation, or download any book and circumvent any official decision that books should be censored and they might be a threat to the minds.
link to Harvard bookstore
link to books on demand
Link to Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Friday, 23 July 2010

Sufi Music festival In New York

The New York times wrote about the Sufi Music festival that took place last tuesday in Union Square. It talks about how music and sufi songs praise islamic saints, poets and philosophers revered by Sufism; all performed in the heart of New York, a place wounded  by radicalism and violent islamic manifestations.
Abida Parveen, the star of the festival,  has a voice in the tradition of the qawwalis  rated as one of the finest voices with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This festival was organized by Pakistani Peace builders who promote peace and tolerance through cultural actions. Hopefully we'll see intercultural events with the intention of peace and tolerance in the Arab world, and find ways to work along those lines.

NYtimes link

Monday, 12 July 2010

"We love words"

 "We love words" is a web platform and a social networks for authors to show texts in French as a alternative to flicker for photographers, and myspace for musicians.
With a legal frame to protect authors and their rights, with a possibility of archiving, editing, creating and promoting events, the "we love words" is an interesting approach to writing and publishing. 
It would be of a very high value to have such a platform in the Arab world where our main concern is censorship and political (un) correctness. Although the web is closely scrutinized by minders, but it still has a sense of virtuality far far away from reality...

link to welovewords

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Routes d'Arabie: roads of Arabia - Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum hosts a large exhibition on Saudi Arabia, with the title : Roads of Arabia, from the 14th of july to 27th of Septembre.
With a historical backgrounds of Saudi Arabia as a crossroads to many civilizations pre-islamic and after the emergence of Islam, the exhibition will show what was left as evidence of these passages. From the Antique period to the incense caravans to the development of different parts of Saudi Arabia and several oasis's until the Islamic era to the pelgrimage roads and sacred locations.

For the small story behind the important exhibition, the newspaper "Le Monde" titled today: "King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia sulks France" (le Roi d'Arabie boude la France) and the paper gives a geopolitical explanation of why the King will not attend the opening of the "Routes d'Arabies" as a way to express his unease with the French president.
If "le Monde" is correct in its assessment, art and culture can be used as tool for nations' interest or disinterest!

Louvre Museum link
Le Monde link

Friday, 9 July 2010

Jérôme's sound system

Jérôme, in Paris, an engineer turned into a pilot for commercial planes, has a hobby: to build his own sound system from bits and pieces, wires, lamps, into an elaborate amplifier + speakers. He talks about it with the interest to track the right sound, the perfect note. He says it is all about the presence in the music and how to feel that moment. 
The effect is rewarding and music becomes a pleasure.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Anass Habib

Will you be in Paris on the 31th of July 2010? A concert by Anass Habib at the Eglise St Eustache seems to be worth the visit! Within the "quartiers d'été" a festival in Paris, Anass Habib will give a performance.
He is known to master his voice and to use it to explore songs from the classical repertoire and from all religious range in the Arab world. He worked on the Maqamaat, to the Mouwashahat to the Mawal, to traditional music from Lebanon to Aleppo, from medieval spanish songs to poems of Mahmoud Darwich. He was born in Fez, Morocco, and has been exploring the world of music ever since he heard Fairuz in an a cappella.

link to Quartier d'été

Link to Anass Habib website