Monday, September 1, 2014

DGGS vs Army National Guard: An ad theft?

Seeing double? And considering each image is cut in half then you're seeing double-double (quadruple!)... Now that we go this out of the way, the new General Directorate of General Security ad (a produt of a certain Phenomena whih is no stranger to borrowing concepts) seems too close for comfort for the Army Naitonal Guard recruitment poster. I know that the US has just given ammunition to the Lebanese Armed Forces, so maybe a poster must have slipped among the ammunition. On second thought, it's just business as usual for the idea thieves.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

CocoCommodore video art by Tarek Chemaly

Yesterday I promsied you the story of Coco, the parrot from the Commodore hotel, and today, I share it with you in video art format. Enjoy.
By the way, yes, the video is silent, I felt at this stage all the sounds were already inserted in other videos, and wanted viewers to insert their own soundtracks instead.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Coco, the Commodore hotel parrot lives again.

Photo credit: Nick Waite
Photo credit: Nick Waite
Photo credit Eli Reed
Photo credit: Eli Reed
Do you know the story of Coco? Coco was a grey African parrot owned by the BBC correspondent Chris Drake and which sat in the lobby of the Commodore Hotel in Beirut. Coco was able to whistle the Marseillaise, the opening bars of Beethoven's 5th symphony but his specialty was imitating the incoming sound of shells (a trick every newbie journalist at the Commodore would fall for). In Feburary 1987, the hotel was raided and looted by mitiliamen and Coco was abducted in the process. Chris Drake put a reward of 10,000 LBP at the time for anyone who could bring back Coco, but to no avail.
Soon, I shall be telling the story of Coco in video art format. Stay tuned.
Below are two different accounts of Coco's vanishing for your pleasure:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crystal Clear Brooks - Roger Waters' Gaza Poem

Artwork from "The (Com)Promised Land" series by Tarek Chemaly
Below is a poem by Roger Waters inspired by Gaza sourced here.

Crystal clear brooks – Roger Waters

Crystal clear brooks
When the time comes
And the last day dawns
And the air of the piper warms
The high crags of the old country
When the holy writ blows
Like burned paper away
And wise men concede
That there’s more than one way
More than one path
More than one book
More than one fisherman
More than one hook
When the cats have been skinned
And the fish have been hooked
When the masters of war
Are our masters no more
When old friends take their whiskey
Outside on the porch
We will have done well
If we’re able to say
As the sun settles down
On that final day
That we never gave in
That we did all we could
So the kids could go fishing
In crystal clear brooks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bayan Bibi's "Gaza in my heart" products

It's good to know someone is doing something apart from throwing ice buckets on themselves for no apparent reason. Bayan Bibi, ever the maverick and the activist, has launched a line of products in support of Gaza. Drawing from the Palestinian visual heritage of the Koufiye she applied the motif to a panoply of products (from the mini bandana to the pin or fridge magent). Please visit here to know where the points of sale are and what you can do yourself to support this campaign.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"The journey is the destination" a new series by Tarek Chemaly

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
It is rare for me to have unfinished projects sitting idle (I have an obsessive-compulsive streak), so to know that this project was first initiated in 2009 and was left unfisnished is a rarity itself. It is based on a children's sticker book which provides kids with heads and feet to be matched with the correct color-it-yourself image (baker, fire fighter, ballerina). What started in my mind as a gender-bias study ended up after finding the sentence "the road is beautiful, where does the bus go?" (in a children's summer vacation copybook) as a project about anticipated growing up when childhood is optional for some.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why I will NEVER win the lottery

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
So I got around to admitting it: I will never win the lottery. Never.
Sure, as the saying goes "to win the lottery you need to buy a ticket" something which I have done a grand total of 2 times in my life - at the suggestion of two different people who saw me being "lucky" on those two occasions. The world is full of people whose life was ruined by winning the lottery.
Some people are pragmatic about it, an Amercian friend - the US being a country where nouveau riche and excessive display of wealth is not frowned upon - told me he wouldn't buy a lottery ticket because if he won he didn't want his children to squabble over the money and people to start befriending him out of nowhere.
This reminds me of a recent exchange over social media with former Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui who was prompting people to come read my blog, sheepishly I admitted that - apart from this making sort of shy, I also did not recognize him when we met the first time in February 30 cafe in Hamra. His reply was something to the effect of that this is how real relationships grow, out of lack of expectations. And people approaching him out of "expectations" is something he knows only too well.
Actually, I once read that the common denominator between lottery winners is that they all feel they are lucky, so does this mean I don't feel I am? Assuming so would be would be taking a pessimisitic view of events. Rationally, you might be thinking "He will never win the lottery because he doesn't buy tickets, he doesn't buy tickets because he doesn't feel he is lucky, he doesn't feel lucky because he thinks the odds are too far against him, he feels the odds are against him because he doesn't believe in happiness".
How about this expalanation: he will never win the lottery because he already won it.
And whereas I do not subscribe to simplistic notions of happiness as sold in pop psychology, I will end with this gem in the words of House M.D.: "Miserable stays miserable, happy doesn't buy lottery in the first place".