Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tarek Chemaly's "Archewallogy/Les murs murs de la ville" + Ashekman's "El hitan am tehkini"

It is truly my pleasure to share with you my new book "Archewallogy/Les murs murs de la ville" a labor of documentation of the city that tells its story through its walls. The book has been in the making since February 2005 and contains images most of which no longer exist.
To my knowledge, there has been no exhaustive visual anthropology study of this magnitude about Beirut previously.However, the project took a major leap when I realized the importance of graffiti in this story-telling of the city, hence, Beirut most talented graffiti crew (Who also double as a hip hop-rap band), namely Ashekman, were contacted for a potential collaboration. The "collaboration" in question ended up being a song called "El hitan am tehkini" (The walls are talking to me) the lyrics of which were inspired from the book and whose title was also the name of the book in Arabic. In addition a video clip based on the images of the book was also done, directed by the Kabbani twins themselves (Ashekman, with me serving as co-executive producer).
However the synergistic effect has gone much further with the guys also supplying the cover of the book in addition to a custom-made graffiti of "el hitan am tehkini" which was featured in both, the clip and the book (Page 215).I am also deeply endebted to Farah Samman's exceptional talents for making conceptual links out of haphazard photos, and for the incredible dedication and attention to detail she has brought to the layout (Which made my own perfectionism look amateurish!).
This whole "package" of urban experience (Book-song-video) is for you to enjoy freely and to share with, and propagate to others. Whereas Ashekman and myself has sponsored this from our own (not-too-deep) pockets, we still wish you to enjoy this book for free, and the video can be found on youtube on the following link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f9OJvWwe3s
Truly, to my knowledge there has been no case previously where academia went head on with street culture and produced such a collaborative effect.
Personally, I shall remain at the disposal of anyone who wishes to have an interview or conference or intervention about the topic. Please enjoy this joint Tarek Chemaly-Ashekman release. For those who wish for a personal FREE COPY of the book, please email me at tarekchemaly@gmail.com .
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