Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vero Modca or the failed collective memory

When the celebrated café Modca became the clothing store Vero Moda in Hamra street it signaled the end of an era and also the metamorphosis of a spirit of a street which paid the toll of the “non-war” (in order not to say peace) more than any other place. This is a multimedia project which eventually will culminate in performances combining scenography and new media. Vero Modca will open tomorrow at Sation Beirut, questioning our collective memory, wondering if it could be in lieu of a traditional history book, and hoping it would lead to a national identity which we all could agree upon.
Vero Modca, part of #InMediasRes - Station Beirut (near Beirut Art Center in Jisr el Wati) - 20:00.





Khoury Home: Chick this coffee pot.

OK, I admit, I am totally enamored. Simply, witty, smart (and I hope to God - Original - meaning so far I did not find it stolen from anyone). A coffee pot that looks like an Easter chick and it's for Khouy Home which sells home appliances. It refers to their line of business, to Easter, and is still is cute as hell!... And the visual? If fallait y penser.
Super. Now let's hope it's not stolen because otherwise it's great.

Vero Modca store opens tomorrow at Station

Within the realm of #InMediasRes - the super interactive and technically complex exhibition taking place at Station Beirut (Jisr el Wati - near Beirut Art Center) - tomorrow will mark the activation of my installation "Vero Modca" which centers around our failed collective memory as Lebanese. Whereas the work is currently in place, only tomorrow will the "store" open (at 8 P.M.).
Hope to see you all there for a small tidbit of history through pop culture, which I hope will bring back a collective memory and therefore build a national identity which is agreed upon by all parties.

#InMediasRes photos from opening night.

How odd it is - the photos above depict what seems to be a "making off" whereas most of them are from properly installed and functioning artworks. Yes, it was a real pleasure of be part of the In Medias Res exhibition at Station Beirut in Jisr el Wati (the exhibition will only run till Friday by the way where my installation Vero Modca - which has been set up but is not running till then - will open).
Projections, interactive works, surveillance cameras (two of the images above depict me photographing myself via a surveillance camera), otherwise, themes related to conflict, dichotomy, tension, roots, home, paranoia, identity, and projection of the self have all been explored in complex, very intriguing narratives by some of the most innovative and daring artists.
Since I am part of the show, the above could be considered a biased opinion (and legitimately so), so how about dropping by Station today and tomorrow while the exhibition lasts to prove me right?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#InMediasRes opens tonight at Sation Beirut

#InMediasRes will open tonight at Station Beirut - next to Beirut Art Center in Jisr el Wati at 19:00.
Come and witness some technically complex, aesthetically challenging, emotionally provoking artworks which feature young (well, except for me that is - since I am taking part of the show) talents with ideas that would put pre-established notions to shame in a venue which took a wild bet on a show which when pitched was just a text and little more (much thanks goes to Nabil Canaan for accepting the challenge) with all of this orchestrated by Miha Vipotnik - one of the pioneers of the digital art in Europe - and a maverick figure if there was one (the more you try to limit him and clip his wings, the more he goes intergalactic).
Come and be "in the midst of things" #InMediasRes.
Keep in mind that Vero Modca - a multimedia installation about our (failed) collective memory - will take place this Friday in the realm of this event.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Enoteca rebrands, perhaps.

To paraphrase John Lennon "rebranding is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans", and pouf - from one day to the next the sign was changed on the Zalka highway and Enoteca has now a new logo (also note the change in language from "la maison du vin" to "the house of wine").
Whereas I am not familiar with the prerogative of is rebranding it seems that this is an exercise of rejuvenation of some sorts. Younger lettering, a more styled grape, the switch of language use, the lack of capital letters, the absence of the old medieval hint, and so on. And as with every rebranding exercise (will anyone ever learn?) now you have two logos and two identities running in parallel everywhere.
How about this image right from the opening page of the Enoteca website?
Side by side you will see the new logo plus wooden crates with the old one (actually, same applies to their 2014 catalog - once the new logo is on the cover, inside the old one is on all containers).

Vero Modca soundtrack and Beirut Mayhem-Mek

As a lead up to Vero Modca store opening within the realm of #InMediasRes on April 18th at 20:00 at Station Beirut, why not enjoy the soundtrack as a blast from the past!
In addition, my war-related memoir "Beirut Mayhem-Mek" can be read in seven parts if you follow these links: One, two, three, four, five, six, and seven.

Fatka-Village: Me talk pretty one day

Looking at the Fatka-Village ad on top of a building at Dora roundabout - one of the worst places to place an ad with words (as no one is standstill enough to read them) - I could not but remember the title of David Sedaris' heartwarming masterpiece "Me talk pretty one day" - except it's very far from being as well written.
"At altitude 400 meters" starts the ad. How about "at 400 meters of altitude" instead? or "at the altitude of 400 meters"?... Then they go on with "you are not mistaken to bronzed near the pool" - which I believe they meant "you are welcome to tan by the pool" and conclude with "between different type of pleasures" which should be "in between different types of pleasuring activities".
Seriously if their English is as good as their houses, you're screwed.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Modca-Cafe de Paris-Horseshoe-Wimpy.... #InMediasRes

Par 64 of Beirut Mayhem-Mek reads....
"And the Horseshoe in Hamra Street is now a franchise of "Costa Coffee", and it is no more. And the Modca, the other famous café, is now Jack Jones and Vero Moda – a clothing store, and the Wimpy is now Only another clothing store, and the Café de Paris which did the yoyo between opening and closing, now became a branch of Crepaway – a local restaurant chain - and all the major cinemas in Hamra Street have closed down for good and Charles Jacob et Mylady now forever frozen on sale in the cemetery of neon signs."
Vero Modca opening on April 18th 20:00 in Station Beirut.

Dying for your sins ad(d)s up.

The whole of the advertising market has gone festive it seems. Easter ads - be they relevant or not - are all over the place. Let's examine the exhibits:
 Kurban Tours is playing on "Easter break" - which apparently "breaks the routine" and not just the traditional Lebanese egg challenge (whereby tops and bottoms of rival eggs battle it out until a winner is declared).
 And here's one with a wink for the expats. The "nezlin 3al eid" is a reference to how people saying "we're coming down to Beirut for the holidays" - yes the airport carousel is behind in case you did not notice - and it's for the special offer for the unsalted Smeds butter which is used for the "Maamoul" (the traditional Easter cookie in Lebanon).
 Which brings us to Lurpak - for the same reason. "Maamoul" technically means "done with" (or "done at" depending on the sentence) - the ad says "ma3moul 3al oussoul" ("maamoul as it ought to be done" but also "done the way it ought to be done"), there is quid pro quo as to who used the gimmick first if Lurpak or Hallab (in 2011, when the duality was discovered, the agency behind Hallab claimed they were first in a targeted campaign in the north, whereas Lurpak has used it nationwide - though who started it is still vague).
 OK, so this is what Douaihy did "everything taste is ma3moul/done here" and although I did not manage to get the ad so did Kayrouz Bakery ("this is how it is done at Kayrouz" - heik ma3moul 3ind Kayrouz). The Douaihy visual though is a massacre, and the tic-tac-toe is - no idea what it is in the context.
 Keeping in vein with the ads that don't quite make sense, here's a Kia offer just for Easter. Apparently the link is "obvious" - either Jesus used it as a getaway car (on a super chase with the Romans) or - if anyone has better ideas please let me know.
Yeah, and as for everything, there's a movie - except with this one we know the story - he was dead then he got better. I wonder if a disclaimer will accompany the movie as it did with Noah though.
And there is even a religious even "Come Alive"...
And a less religious one "Humping bunnies and sexy chicks"... So there's everything for everyone this Easter! Well, it seems he didn't just die for your sins but also brought in his "wake" (sorry, misplaced word) a whole industry of commercialism to.

What is #InMediasRes ?

#InMediasRes is the man watching the CCTV watching you "for your own safety"
#InMediasRes is Juvenal's who watches the watchmen?
#InMediasRes is Oscar Wilde's "we are all living in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars"
#InMediasRes is "just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you"
#InMediasRes is the "houdou2 hazer" (cautious calm) that used to be code word for "go there at your own risk" during the Lebanese war on radio stations
#InMediasRes is the schizo-frame-ia with multiple identities held in a container stopping them from falling apart
#InMediasRes is the Kundera's "unbearable lightness of being" but also his "risible loves"
#InMediasRes is a Kafaesque nightmare of a man turning into a cockroach but afraid of losing his exoskeleton
#InMediasRes is Garcia Marquez's "One hundred years of solitude" and also his "love in the time of cholera"
#InMediasRes is opening at Station Beirut April 16th 19:00.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In Medias Res - Miha Vipotnik/Mojca Zavolovsek/Tarek Chemaly

Tarek Chemaly (Installation)
Title of the work: Vero Modca/Searching Joe
A past rearranged to suit the present, a present that is not a gift, or is a poisoned gift, but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, yes – never examine its content – never ask the whys and the hows and the what fors, keep pretending that the retrospective version of the past is what happened, so that the current narrative still continue to make sense.

Mojca Zavolovsek (Graphic Art)
Title of work: Adhesive cohesive
The devil is in the details and so is God, a transplant into chaotic land bring order and meticulousness, nothing ever falls apart, nothing ever over spills, all is scotch-taped as the rest run in circles, beacons of organization, logic and pampering as the rest of the world is in the midst of things.

Miha Vipotnik (Initiator)
Title of Work: In Medias Res
I spy with my little eye, catalyze, shake, challenge, provoke, I to eye, I build, destroy to rebuild again, and throughout it all learn and de-learn from experience, only to spy better and catalyze more and shake with more violence and challenge with more vigor and provoke more consistently.

In Medias Res - Jad Taleb - Station Beirut

Jad Taleb (Sound Installation)
Title of the work: Soundtrack of our lives
Nine to the power four combinations of possibilities, footprints of past experience, of luggage being dragged, of sins and hopes and aspirations being trashed, of futures being dared, of permutations being changes, of tribulations being shared, and of identities being forged.

In Medias Res - Jad Tannous - Station Beirut

Jad Tannous (Video Installation)
Tile of the work: Silenced through the eyes
If silence could be experienced, then what would it look like, would it look alike? And if the eye can give it a language, would it still be a silence? What would its alphabet be like once interpreted through visual codes and signals?

In Medias Res - Rami Bishara - Station Beirut

Rami Bishara (Installation Art)
Title of the work:: Two stroke life cycleZoetrope, zootrope, digital animal kingdom, rise of the robots, 3-laws safe, action-reaction-creaction-recreaction, screws in the machine, rage against that machine, get crushed in the gears, break free through the cracks, only to be caught back and get clogged as a clog.