Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: burj khalifa, dubai, future gutter status, headspace, indoles, perfume, summer, writing
It’s been a long while. Many things have happened during these past five months. I travelled to the ostensible top of the world, and also London, Phoenix, Cambridge, New York, Mumbai, and around this country I grew up in yet never explored. I talked myself in and out of finally being able to live in Dubai, and began burning geranium oil. The perfume education continued too, with a swoop into the heady narcoticism of indolic white florals—of jasmine, lilies and nargis; of torpid summerlong stupors and of sweetness turning to rot.
And through these months I wrote: about the craft of gulet building in the boatyards of Bodrum, Turkey; a superkinetic Lebanese webseries, Shankaboot; a Moroccan bank that’s more than just a pretty facade; and the inimitable Rose Issa, grand doyenne of Arab and Iranian art and film.
And an Egyptian-Deleuzean architect and a house that’s only 5.33m wide; embroidering the Palestinian struggle; the Lebanese Head of Exterior Design at BMW; a biodegradable camel leather factory off the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain highway; and designer Essa Bhagoorwalla, the «Oprah of Sharjah»
And the traced history and languages of dhow racing in the UAE; Mocha coffee’s journey from Yemen to Japan; Berber-inspired contemporary mud architecture in southern Morocco; various birds and dressforms of the Middle East; and Egypt’s answer to ramen, among other things.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: art, books, dollar bills, future gutter status, hypertextuality, language, money, paper sculpture, stephen doyle, visapocalypse
Words and money and money for words. I’m rather impressed by The New Inquiry, where my roomate’s an editor. I’d love to do something similar, though more visual-critical and grounded in the screen/image—along the lines of this blog (if anyone’s interested?). And/or actually under my name, now that I’m looking to cover at least a third of living through freelancing? (Or: hire/publish me! Please!).
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: (cha)osmosis, anarchism, anthro, art, ⚑, blackening theory, blendie, brian dettmer, castration anxiety, future gutter status, kelly dobson, language, machine therapy, magic, parapraxis, phase vicoder, synaesthesia, technomagical anarchism, thesis, voice activation
|this is incredibly sick. a 1950s blender modded to recognise a human speaking its language? whirrrr. imagine if this was around in the 1950s? shit would get so feral. or, an orchestra of these with black metal’s finest to multiply the castation anxiety please (this looks way more appealing than it should?) it’s by kelly dobson, who
“From the age of four was doing odd jobs such as smashing windows and hauling machine parts from one area of the yard to another. She had machine friends… She is developing a method of personal, societal, and psychoanalytical engagement termed Machine Therapy. (which) is tangentially about the parapraxis of machine design — what machines do and mean for people other than what we consciously designed them to do and be used for“.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: adbusters, advertising, art, censorship, consumerism, future gutter status, hijab, hijabism, hijabizing, korinna irwin, no logo, orientalism, post-consumerism?, princess hijab, rock star with words, street art, veil, visual terrorism, zines
Who is Princess Hijab? She’s my age, yet anonymous; an “unseen character” And
since 2006, the Princess, who has begun a movement (Hijabism) based on the subverting of advertisements (Hijabizing) veils faces on billboards using a black marker pen.The black hijab encompasses every existing form of distinction. PH also operates on the Internet by creating animated gifs. She initiated the hijab_ad collective.
There’s some debate over whether she is a hijabi or even a Muslim. Or even a woman (take that as loosely as you will). I kind of like that it’s ambiguous
and that you don’t necessarily need to subscribe to certain identities to dislike the oversexualisation of women’s bodies, and especially the creepily prepubescent
(hello, Tom Ford! though I do think those ads are kind of unintentionally brilliant in their hyper-plasticity, kind of like lucy and bart). Princess Hijab, anyway, sees her work as a kind of culturally specific Adbusters-ish response – except for the part where you consume to cut down comsumption. She tells Menasset that
“I created PH to be connected. I wanted to mix elements from different extractions and cultures, starting from my initial subject: the veiled woman. I believe it’s the reason why PH had such an impact. She never let herself be defined by religion nor gender. It was really crucial for me,: she said”.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: (cha)osmosis, americana, cairo, cynthia mckinney, egypt, free gaza movement, future gutter status, gaza, heliopolis, israel, khan el khalili, mosques, northeast, occidentalism, orientalism, spirit of humanity, travel
“IS THAT THUNDER IN THE DISTANCE?” “NO, IT’S PROBABLY JUST ISRAEL…”
This was of course an early morning joke – we were on a dusty balcony in Ard El Golf, a long way off from the Egyptian-Israeli border. It never did rain and we didn’t find out what the booming noises ever were – not dissimilar to a supersize Iftar cannon, but at completely the wrong time of year. Getting back to Dubai, however I came across something that’s a little less of a joke:
[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, at 15:30pm yesterday] – Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the “Spirit of Humanity,” abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.
Cairo itself was a really sick experience, albeit an exercise in imbibed hairballs (from two adorable Persian cats) and chaos. Perhaps I went expecting to magically be able to speak 3amiya (colloquial) – I couldn’t, though I got along fine with Fusha and acquired Shami/Khaleeji polymumblings. Towards the end I found it much easier to follow conversations to boot, while still finding more complex (b)olitical ones difficult. Many wonderful people, interesting insights with regards to Egypt-Palestine, good films at the Cairo Refugee Film Festival I volunteered at, unfortunate communions with both the Cairo Scholars list and a toilet bowl (many comparisons to be made from utility to aesthetics no?) an 3oud (!) and a month later, there’s not much to say. Or perhaps I’m still residually exhausted – something in the pollution-meets soundscapes? But here’s a few pictures anyway. Mostly from a mosque in the Khan-el-Khalili area before my camera imploded slightly, magically, if frustratingly coming back to life in the last two days (Flickr, is of course still charmingly blocked in the UAE).
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: adalah, anarchism, anarchists against the wall, armed struggle, ⚑, BDS, boycott, consumerism, direct action, divestment, future gutter status, insurrection, international solidarity movement, israel, jordan, lifestyle politics, palestine, sanctions, Sufism, uri gordon, wayne price
Palestina by Melanie Cervantes
|Here’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, after coming across Wayne Price’s “the Palestinian Struggle and the Anarchist Dilemma, fleshing out my own thoughts on the death of armed struggle, and then following the recent successes of the US Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign. At least thus far it’s been something I’m a bit reluctant to take on especially as it looks like this is what I’ll inshallah be PhD applying to, so maybe part of a series?|
BDS – Pushing for institutional change
As much as I wholeheartedly believe in, and work with BDS campaigns at various levels, there’s something that makes me slightly uneasy about banking on consumerist/lifestylist, institutional, and interstatist avenues to produce social change. Not just the question of academic boycott, which I’m wholly torn on, but it that it feels like a ‘necessary evil’, a compromise for campaign efficiency, in a way. Necessary evils – awkward good/evil morality aside, it feels like an awkward liberal binary, or people who consider themselves anti-authoritarian but insist on centralised and hierarchical organisations and meeting structures for ‘efficiency’s sake’. You could perhaps look at it in the view that ‘every little bit helps’, think global act immediately local, and so on . Kind of the way I feel about veganism, buying local/from CSAs, fair trade etc – a good (if privilege imbued) along-the-way means to an end, but not the end in itself. But when BDS becomes, or rather, feels like the only avenue, what then?
MORE: WHAT DO YOU WANT THEN, A REVOLUTION?
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: anthropology, brownbook, dead time, deira, dubai, estrangement, evan collisson, expat anxiety, future gutter status, ghost of petrodollar bubble past, headspace, karama, skateboarding, summer, uae
Dubai again and a strange affection for a city that I guess is my home, little as it does want me here. Jobs here seem impossible at first hunt, perhaps I should look to skip and dip on standby tickets for the next two months? I will definitely be in Cairo (and not Berlin) for a fortnight sandwiched in June, and Kashmir/Mumbai for the first 2-3 weeks of July. Hopefully finding an affordable (!) sublet in NYC for August and couchsurfing for the last dredges of July til I can inshallah move in. My life is currently packed into six boxes in the radio station – I fascinatingly had five last year and four the year before. I suspect the number could go down though as I have scores of books to disperse (like theory, like cats) into the atmosphere, and several boxes lined with wake-up-an-hour-before-kickout-time dump and run panic. [you can't go home again..]
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: (cha)osmosis, anarchism, anthro, ⚑, bluestockings, future gutter status, hakim bey, M.A.Z., magic, magical automous zone, MAZ, michael albert, parecon, space, TAZ, thesis
My life feels marginally more sorted now. only just, though. berlin is semi-certain but still up in the air. dubai in summer seems very likely. magic is back, in a really good way. Instead of fieldworking in summer in dubai – not on labour or domestic worker abuse or anything that involves asking the ‘wrong’ questions and getting my family kicked out, I will now thesisise on anarchist spaces and magic though a theory (yet to be fully developed) of the Magical Autonomous Zone. Probably in the city – places like Bluestockings, 123, ABC No Rio? But also taking that outside – into homes, into collective projects and into the street.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: anarchism, anarchist bookfair, anthropology, ☭☭☭, ⚑, cat party, catastrophe, dead time, dissemination, dubai, expat crisis, future gutter status, headspace, listen trotskyist, new school, situationism, summer
“I sometimes think I envy those people who know where they belong;
writers who have a language and a history that is granted them with no catches, no hooks. Theirs for the taking. Along with a nation of willing accomplices, compatriots who see their own fate and that of their nation’s history and literary tradition reflected in the mirror the writer’s labour. It is all so neatly sewn up. Of course, I enjoy no such privilege. I belong to that nomad tribe, the great unwashed, those people born in the joins between continental shelves, in the unclaimed interstices between time zones, strung across latitudes. A tribe of no fixed locus, the homeless, the stateless. I have two passports and quite a variety of other documents to identify me, all of which tell the world where I have been, but not who I am, nor where I am going to…
A petrodollar summer?