Sunday, April 20, 2014

Je vous salue Paris pleine de...

Ah, so Rami el Khoury strikes again! In a very efficient poster - he knows how to make his visuals simply and straight to the point all while keeping the fun in (my opinion is biased though as I have collaborated with him on several projects) - which plays on wine, conviviality, and overall good mood (yes, with the tricolor motif) the ad simply hits where it should!

Too much dairy and the lactose intolerance.

So many dairy ads are almost giving me lactose intolerance. As to why all of them initiated campaigns is a bit of a mystery - perhaps it's simply that there's little turn over on the billboards and unipoles so much that their campaigns stayed there unchanged.
Center Jdita goes "when the Lebanese vote, it's normal for the healthy option to win" a reference on their "Product of the Year" win (not much of a credibility there but I shall let this one pass).
 Khoury also stresses that its products is also "the healthy way" to enjoy one's day.
 Taanayel les fermes also goes "fresh tasty and naturally strong"....
As you can see, the claims are interchangeable, the brands could have been either one of them on any of the ads... Basically little or not demarcation!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

#InMediasRes and a fitting "closure"

Photo credit: Anthony Karam

One of the most recurring themes of #InMediasRes was surveillance, seeing and being seen (I am one of the ones who drifted off in my work into an analysis of the conflict of identity - specifically collective memory and national identity - but that's digressing), so yesterday when the "Vero Modca" store performance finished at Station Beirut and as I was gathering my backpack to leave I was approached by a man to whom I had been just introduced some 10 minutes earlier.
It turned out he was Anthony Karam.
And it turned out Anthony took a photo of a man walking on the street earlier in the day.
And it turned out the man being observed on the street was none else than myself.
Asking Anthony why he would take a photo of a perfect stranger on the street (in an act of unofficial surveillance) he said there was something "compelling about a man walking purposefully on the street holding "something" on his back" (that would be my colourful special edition Eastpak backpack).
Since one of the premises of In Medias Res was "no ends, no beginnings" "only middles", the photo marks such a fitting "closure" (not "end") to that roller coaster ride this show has been for (practically) all participants (but mostly initiator Miha Vipotnik).
So there, my photo was taken "in the midst of things" on the final day of #InMediasRes - coincidence? Or an ironic act of cyclical art?  

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.