#cometogether in London

Edge of Arabia launched #cometogether in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick lane last on Saturday. Open till Oct 28th, #cometogether is a collection of Middle Eastern contemporary Artists’ work that address issues of identity, culture and society. I’m a big fan of Edge of Arabia, an initiative that started in 2007 with contemporary Saudi artists. They are now expanding outside Saudi to include other Arab and North African countries.  As excited as I was, circumstances beyond my control only allowed me to check it out on Monday. As a designer, I really liked how you could collect a flyer on each artwork, therefore compiling your own brochure of your favorite work. I did wish they had some sort of file or folder to hold them in and maybe a bag (because it was raining outside and I didn’t want the exhibition magazine or flyers to get wet).

Below are pictures of my favorite pieces, and why:

This piece titled Approximate Feast is a collaboration by Hala Ali & Lantian Xie, what interested me about it was on several different levels. A- its an interactive wall projection, so it fits right in with what my MA research has lead me to. B- Its a social critique. C- Its witty.

This group of men can be seen from afar to be eating greedily in a non-stop loop, but as soon as you approach them they start slowing down until they come to a full stop when you are right in front of them. They don’t start eating again till you move away. Read into it what you will, I found it both comic and accurate!

This piece, The Situation Room by Muzamil Choudhury pretty much speaks for itself. The texture and materials used are linked with south Asian craft, used by the Pakistani-descent artist to challenge this famous photograph and create a dialogue around it.

Ahmad Mater’s installation was perhaps the most overwhelming and impressive for me. Made of of four screens with four channel videos projected onto them, you sit in the middle and experience a sort-of sensory overload. The sounds from the four alternate, but the images from Makkah, birds in the sky, a drummer, light toys twirling endlessly, views of the Haram (Mosque) all come together to give a very intimate and very vivid experience with the city. Since I come from Jeddah, a city that is an hour’s drive away and that shares a lot of its culture due to the pilgrims entering the country through my city, I instantly felt that connection. It was like a flashback into the old town, only deeper because this is Makkah. The sounds build up to a crescendo by the drummer, then they die out suddenly with the end of the videos.

I might go there again just to sit in that corner and lose myself in the light and sounds.

The rest of the works were awesome as well, but those were the ones that stuck in my mind most of all. I’m also just giving you a taster so you can go check it out for yourself and see what resonates with you. For more info check out the Edge of Arabia Facebook page or website.

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The LaLa Land of Design Website is Launched!

 

So I’ve finally gotten my act together and created my own website (about time, right?). This blog will still be where I write and share my thoughts, and perhaps the process of some of the projects on my website. Its still in the first phase and there is a lot of updating and tweaking that needs to be done, but I needed to get it out in the open first because that was the scariest part for me!

So go ahead, check out www.lala-landofdesign.com and please feel free to share any comments you might have, constructive criticism included!

 

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The Problem With Patents

When do patents and copyrights stop promoting the progress of useful arts and hinder it instead?

A thought-provoking TED talk by Kirby Ferguson titled “Embracing the Remix”.

Moral of the story, we ALL steal. The progress of mankind depends on building on the work of others. So how can we protect the rights of the Artists/inventors/creators of a product without stopping others from making it better? Where should this line be drawn?

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DIA AZZAWI’S SABRA SHATILA (1982-83) ACQUIRED BY THE TATE MODERN

Sabra & Shatila is perhaps the most famous massacre of the Palestinian people. The name is taken from the names of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where some number between 762 and 3,500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were murdered in the space of three days. (How can the estimate be so big?! Surely they can tell the difference between 700 and 3,500 dead bodies?!)

Dia Azzawi, a leading Arab contemporary artist, created his piece “Sabra Shatila” right after the massacres happened. This piece has now been acquired by the Tate Modern, and will be displaying this July (2012) at level 3. I. for one will definitely go see it! Its bound to bring up some unpleasant feelings, but I feel its a part of Arab history that we need to face. And stand in a moment of silence for those innocent lives that were shown no mercy. Perhaps if we reflected more on the past, we can prevent such ugliness in the future, but perhaps I’m just naive.

For more info on the piece and the Artist, click here.

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Workaholics Are Bad For The Environment

Don’t believe me? check it out here.

Long story short, if you work more hours, you make more money, you spend more on electricity and energy. From what I understand, If you make less money you’ll be more careful with your energy consumption.

It sounds to me like working less makes one less driven to consume as well, like hopping off that hamster wheel in the Rat Race. Makes perfect sense. Less income, but better quality of life. To quote Susan Sarandon from the trailer of Arbitrage “How much money do we need? Do you want to be the richest man in the cemetery?”. BY the way, can’t wait for that movie to be released not only because it looks good, but also because we got a fellow Saudi (Mohammed Al-Turki) as an executive producer! Woohoo!

In the end, its an Age-old question, isn’t it? How much money is enough money?

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Youtube Video Inspires Photographer for Change

What is is that’s so shocking about seeing children mimic adults with cigarettes? Perhaps its the reflection upon ourselves, or seeing those who we hope to stay innocent and untouched behaving in a way that is self-destructive and harmful.

After watching this video, photographer Frieke Janessens was inspired to do a series of photos titled “Smoking Kids” about how children are affected by Adults smoking around them. She sets the mood and outfits of the children to fit a time when smoking was a social norm, and people smoked freely around their children. She maintains that not children were really holding or smoking cigarettes, using incense sticks for the smoke effect and photoshopping the cigarettes or cigars in later.

I love the detail in her photographs, she is able to take me back in time to where I can almost here the sounds and smell the noises of that era. And she really managed to get the most out of her child-models expression-wise. They really do mirror larger than life Old-school hollywood characters to me.

What I find worth mentioning is that we can truly find inspiration anywhere. A video on you tube, a comment a friend makes, a crack in the street or a news cast on TV. The sources are endless. For me, I get my best ideas when I’m praying or doing yoga or walking with a friend. Also right before I sleep. I think my mind wanders (even when it shouldn’t) and makes links between issues that I normally wouldn’t do. Different things that I see or hear throughout the day are stored in my mind, and they key is to be able to access them and link them together at the right time. This can apply to new business ideas, new products, and solutions to any problems I might have as well.

So here’s to Inspiration! May we come across it easily and naturally. Though in reality its normally more like giving birth. Ugh!

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Mustache Mania!

It started with Movember, the November campaign to raise awareness of men’s colon cancer through sporting funky mustaches on both men who can grow them or women who will stick them on in support. But its seems to have taken on a life of its own. Everywhere I turn these days, I seem to run into a mustache design that has somehow managed to find its way into some of the most absurd and unexpected places! Baby pacifiers, women’s accessories, party favors, even pet tags! Fridge magnets, beer bottle rings, glass decals, poster art and T-shirts of course are but to name a few. Below is a collection I found online today, I’m sure I can find a lot more. Have you noticed any that weren’t included here?

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