Monday, September 22, 2014

Ahmed Imad Eddin scores new Pink Floyd album cover

Image: Ahmed Alam Eddin/Pink Floyd
A very young Egyptian digital artist (reportedly 18 years old) has just scored the cover of the upcoming Pink Floyd album "the endless river". Pink Floyd fans are already divided (and not just by the bell!) as to wether the cover is worthy of the pantheon of the previous albums - let's face it, this image will not look good on black t-shirts like "Dark Side of the Moon" or on white t-shirts such as "The Wall". Personally, since the departure of Roger Waters, and since Pink Floyd have drifted more into Paulo Coelho territory as opposed to some deeper insights, I find the image to be fitting in the mood of the general direction of where the band went. In other news, Roger Waters was "Amused to Death" by the cover. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mike el Hajj Assaf - Bewejak 7aki at Iris gallery.

Mike Hajj Assaf (full discosure: a former student of mine) is having his first solo show at no other than the Iris gallery at the rooftop of Annahar Building in downtown Beirut. The exhibition smartly titled "bwejak 7aki" which rougly translates as "in-your-face news" is exactly that - faces of prominent Lebanese people of whom we are proud (such as Feyrouz or Gebran Khalil Gebran) made up of newspapers and glue (and only that). The viewing will be on the 22nd and 23rd of September from 6 to 8 P.M. and the exhibition continues till October 6th.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mazen fashion: Daily dresses, bachellor customs, ext....

I admit, my English is getting rusty for the current market, which is why probably I did not understand what Mazen Fashion is selling: Daily dresses I could approximate to "day dresses" (as opposed to evening dresses - which, dang, they also sell!), but "bachellor customs" had me seriously scratching my head. I think it originates from "costume" French for "suit" (hence customs?) but "bachellor" is simply incomprehensible to me (is it for bachelor parties, or for single men as opposed to married ones?), and if this was not enough, they add an "ext...." which I though meant extension once you call the listed phone numbers only to then understand it means "etc...." Not only this, they also sell "wholesale and retalil" - that's English problems in wholesale and "retail" if you ask me!
If their quality and taste is as good as their communication, we're in deep trouble! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beirut/PAL (Persistence And Longing) by Tarek Chemaly now out!

Beirut/PAL (Persistence And Longing) by Tarek Chemaly is now out on 7UPstairs Publishing. Based upon a very complex mathematical pattern, retro kitsch images were rearranged very rigorously but also according to chance making the final works very representative of Beirut – an organized chaos which can be interpreted depending on the viewer’s circumstances and background.

Mercedes 280SL - sweet dreams are made of this.

It is no secret I am in love with vintage Mercedes Benz - from the whole collection, the above could be my dream car (the 280SL) - I saw it hidden in plain sight in Achrafieh, parked underneath a building.... Another carcheology find worth reporting about.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kameel Hawa - Art for Art's sake (to our delight!)

Mr. Kameel Hawa, who defines himself as "thinker, designer, and artist" graced us with a brilliant work of art (which he dub's "art for art's sake") in his "participation in Beirut Art Week [...] eight sculptural interpretations of the word Fann, which is Arabic for art. Not all words in Arabic can be artistically formed with such visual variety. Fann is somehow lucky! Lucky in shape, and of course specially inviting in meaning". The works are exhibited inside the pool of the "Samir Kassir garden" right opposite Le Grey Hotel in Beirut.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Audi and the #landofquattro

Audi is launching the Month of Quattro and a chance to put one's name on map through #landofquattro - according to their website this is the explanation:
"The Land of quattro is a global campaign that showcases the unique beauty of countries around the world. Now, in our region and during the month of quattro, Audi is on a quest to discover and promote the most exciting hidden trails across the Middle East – and we want you to be our expedition partner.
Hit the road with us as we explore uncharted territory. Together we will show the world just how incredible your country is, inspiring them to follow in your path. Best of all you’ll get to name the trails."
I am far from being a car enthisiast, so basically if I am mentionning this it is for the advertising and communication part. I really loved the #landofquattro name for the campaign, it immediately conjures images of outlandishness, grandeur, rugged landscapes and symbolic banner emblems. I also admit that musically, it's very inspiring with deep, rallying and melancolic sounds (I immediately thought of Scottish music - which darn me, they are voting tomorrow to see if they get independence or not! - and the Brittany-originating Breizh music).
All in all, a majestic name very fitting for the campaign.

Home city vs Apple - copycat slogan?

I still smile when I remember that I see similarities everywhere, "laughable" someone recently said. OK, so let's see if this makes you laugh or not. "Live different" for Home City (by none other than the agencies that basically is incapable of coming up with an idea on its own) and the classic "think different" signature for Apple.
My theory about similar ads includes three parts: the theft, the spoof and the tribute. The first part is when the core creative element is stolen, the second is when the ad is being laughed ad, and the third is when the fame of the ad is capitalized on to draw attention to something else (most usually a social cause for example).
One of the first things I detected in the ad, is the repetition in the Home City of the grammatical error in the Apple slogan - because to be correct the selling line should be "think differentLY". so when I read "live different" this is when the similarities started in my mind.
To be fair however, I actually loved the Home City ad - the transposition of the diver to the table as jumping board is pretty lovely. But the live different is the bit that annoys me. Any other slogan - with no references to previous famous ones - would have done.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Libans de Reves: Tarek Chemaly x Charif Megarbane audiovisual collaboration


Based on a title which is a part of a sentence by Rimbaud in his prose poem “Villes I” in Les Illuminations, “Libans de reves” (or “Lebanons of dreams”) is an audiovisual diptych between visual artist Tarek Chemaly and musician Charif Megarbane (the talent behind the Cosmic Analog Ensemble) which includes “CocoCommodore” and “Abou el Rish” – a kind of false introspection for a nation that lost sight of itself (assuming it ever had it).

CocoCommodore tackles the story of Coco, 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.
Abou El Rish (father of feathers) is a character that showed up out of nowhere in west Beirut during the war (specifically around 1981) and built himself a cardboard shack net to the American University of Beirut. He would wear strange medallions and a hat with feathers on it (hence the nickname) and would try to play traffic police with a duster. People would give him leftover food, and have pity on him and help him. When the Israeli invasion (the second one) came in 1982 it was revealed that he was an intelligence officer to the Israeli army whose work was to collect information. A mass hysteria happened afterwards with people reporting his sightings on barricades on in patrols. Private information gathered shows that he was a Iranian jew who eventually went to Israel and got recruited in the Israeli Defence Forces.
The original soundtrack by the Cosmic Analog Ensemble can be heard independently on this link.
Original sountrack and sleeve jacket by Charif Megarbane