Archive for May 2011

VideoWorks 2011

19 May, 2011 § 0

You know how, sometimes, when you learn a new word, you start seeing it everywhere around you? The same thing is happening with the "lebanese oldies revival" theme. For instance, every Friday you can now watch Sami Clark, Abdo Mounzer and Le Petit Prince at Orientis and bring back the golden age! And just yesterday, I went to the opening of VideoWorks 2011 and the opening video was all based on footage from that era.

The short is called Under a Rainbow by Roy Dib. It featured scenes from Remi Bandali's Amani tahta kaws kozah (which, by the way, is a must-see movie) spliced with scenes from Studio L Fann, Samira Toufic, Ferial Karim, Madonna, etc. All cut and edited in a way that greatly contrasts our happy childhood memories with what was really going on at a time of war.
It's sad that my generation turns amnesiac when it comes to the 80s and that this period in time might never be thoroughly documented, not politically nor musically. I'm in constant search of what defines our Lebanese identity as such and I strangely find the answer in the songs and artists of that era.

The second movie was Prologue by Raed & Rania Rafei. It handles yet another subject that am sure most of us have never heard about and that's March 19, 1974 when AUB students rebelled against the administration and took over the campus. The rebellion was mainly against a 10% increase in tuition but it underlined deep divisions along social, political and ideological lines.
As the name states, there will be another movie about the event and I can't wait to watch it!

VideoWorks 2011 remains till May 21, you should really check it out.
More info here.

How about blogging in Said Akl's "Lebanese" alphabet?

15 May, 2011 § 12

Last week, there was something on the news about a statue of Said Akl being unveiled in Zahle in his homage. It reminded me of this article I had read a couple of years ago about Said Akl's "Lebanese Language" in Bidoun Magazine.

I'm someone who loves the Arabic language and who won't go into the "Are we Arabs or Phoenicians" argument because it doesn't matter to me, we're all passers-by. But you have to salute Said Akl's radical nationalism (and I'm not necessarily referring to his rather controversial political views here, only to his literary ones).

So Akl's "Lebanese" is a Latinate version of colloquial Arabic, rooted in ancient Phoenician script. It uses Latin letters in addition to a few newly designed letters and some accented Latin letters to suit the Lebanese phonology. Below is an image of his alphabet.

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Meshwar revisited!

08 May, 2011 § 6

So I decided to try out the "Lebanese Oldies" series digitally and here's what it looks like! So what do you think? Should I rework the others too?

Sorry bout the name but a designer's gotta do what a designer's gotta do!

Typography workshop with Tarek Atrissi

07 May, 2011 § 3

I had the chance yesterday to attend a typography workshop with Tarek Atrissi.
As a student, Tarek was always a sort of idol, himself being a lebanese student who travelled abroad for studies and then settled in the Netherlands to start a studio that will later on handle the most innovative arabic typography projects worldwide.

What was quite interesting about the conference/workshop is seeing the process of some projects and making out the difference between calligraphy, typography and lettering. I had always thought that I needed to be excellent at calligraphy in order to come up with good typographic design. Tarek made it clear that a designer can not be a calligrapher unless he puts lots of effort and most of his time into calligraphy. That is why a designer's job is mainly to know how to art direct calligraphers and typographers. I've always been someone who needs to be great at everything or nothing at all so this kind of gave me a wake up call to change my perspective!

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