Friday, November 27, 2009

Samir Kassir

Historiography of Beirut

I believe what separates somewhat frivolous current upper class tourism, with travel-for-travel-sake four times a year journeys, from serious traveling is the careful research and the "further readings". Here's my direct bibliography for the recent hop into Lebanon:

Nicolas Sursock

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shaker Abtissi

Grozny-like devastation ...

Nahr El Bared ( Northeast Lebanon) still a desolate monument to asymmetrical warfare.

Nahr El Bared

A Grozni-like desolation...
(text to follow soon)

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi

Bi'lin (West Bank, Palestine)
Will non-violent resistance prove itself a shorter way to end the ocupation? Most of us keep our fingers crossed.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Adam Thirlwell

Indeed "one of the funniest, most stylish and utterly original debuts in years". Threesome sex, bits of Jewish North London, hints of Stalin's relations with selected Russian writers (Mandelstam, Bulgakov), Bauhaus architecture as source of metaphors and aforisms - all very Kunderesque. But above all one is impressed with the "voice" of the writer. Quite something.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tarek Al-Ghoussein

At Al-Ma'mal (Old City) an exhibition of photographs by Tarek Al-Ghoussein

At Al-Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, New Gate, Old City, Jerusalem a exhibition by Palestinian-Kuwaiti photographer Tarek Al-Ghoussein titled "In Absentia". The show represents an interesting glimpse on how Contemporary Art in East Jerusalem can be sponsored. Instead of relying on the budgets for cultural activities of local Western diplomatic missions, this time you have 'The Third Line", a Dubai gallery, the Sharjah Foundation (UAE) and ( ok, it weakens my argument) Ford Foundation.

As the leaflet of Al-Ma'mal points out: "Tarek Al-Ghoussein's work exposes an identity shaped by a context of inaccessibility and loss, his fabricated landscapes providing a foil for the experience of exile. In many of his works the artist is dwarfed by a vast desert landscape, reconstructing allegories for the obstacles, barricades and walls erected in the Occupied Territories."


Tracey Emin

Personal life archeology. Changing the focus from the bedroom to the office room so to speak...

Anwar Sadat

"Homonym" (Sadat's " Visit) 2009, Mixed media,
by Ruti Sela, Boaz Arad, Doron Rabina and Guy Ben-Ner,

A grounded airplane (made of clay) from which a small figure emerges at the top of the stairs of the front exit, just like Heads of State, or other important visitors do... The rapid decaying material, the fact the plane looks it endured a crash landing, the figure who evokes a alien-who-visits-planet-Earth - there's a sense of doom, a feeling of tragic events, like a near-miss catastrophe. Is it a requiem for Peace (that Sadat symbolically inaugurated with his historical visit when he landed at Ben Gurion) ?

A very powerful work in "The Side Show" , the small companion to the main event, during the ArtTLV biennale.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mikhail Sakashvili

Nanushka, a Georgia-inspired restaurant off Allenby Street, TA, where you can have a decent "katchapury" ( filopastry with cheese filling) although not as yummy as the glorious ones I ate at Sandonovosky banya, in Moscow, with endorphins at an all time high...

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Natalia Voidianova

When does a Russian film director (or a non-Russian for that matter) understands that this one-in-a-generation face has to be used for the adaptation to cinema of one of the immortal heroines in Russian literature, Tatyana, Natasha, Sonitchka, you name it...
( With compliments to Vogue UK and Vogue Russia.)
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fiodor Dostoevsky

A jewel of a book on the gambling trip of Fiodor D. and his recently-wed to 19 years old stenograph...
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Siksik family

The imam in charge of Siksik mosque explains to our guide (who's finishing a doctorate thesis on Jaffa at Tel Aviv University) that the renovation works are almost over and the re-opening of a mosque closed in 1948 was going to take place very soon (see BBC article below)

Mosque Reopens in Jaffa

BBC- Arabic
Presenter, Woman # 1
Muslims in Jaffa reopened Siksik Mosque after 61 years of closure. The Siksik family built the Mosque in 1838, and made it available to all Muslims in the city. However, Israel confiscated all Islamic common properties such as cemeteries and Mosques and forced the people to leave in 1948 when Israel was established.

Reporter, Man # 1
This Mosque has a long history. It was built by the Siksik family in Jaffa at the end of the 19TH century. In 1948, the Mosque was confiscated by the Israelis who used it for storing products for years. Then it was closed and neglected and eventually became a hang out place for drug addicts and gamblers just like many Muslim religious buildings in Historical Palestine.

Guest, Man # 2
Islamic common properties were desecrated for the past 60 years since the establishment of Israel. Regrettably Islamic common properties were desecrated in cities that have both Jewish and Palestinian population such as Haifa, Jaffa, Lidda, and Bir Al Sabe’ in the south. This was a dangerous assault not only on the identity of the land and buildings, but also on the right to worship. It was an attack on Muslims’ rights to have their own Mosques and to regularly worship God.

Reporter, Man # 1
However, the family of Siksik and the rest of the Muslims who remained in Jaffa kept demanding their right to reopen the Mosque for the past 60 years. Although the Israeli authorities rejected their repeated demands, Muslims decided to take the unprecedented measure of renovating the Mosque and reopening it for worshippers.

Guest, Man # 3
Reopening the Mosque is a historical event. This important event moved the residents of Jaffa and other Muslims wherever they are. We believe that this is a historical event, because this is the first Mosque that is liberated after 60 years.

Reporter, man # 1
The Siksik Mosque was officially reopened by the former Mufti of Palestine, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri and other Islamic figures in the presence of dozens of Muslims from the city. They demanded their right to open the many Mosques that have been confiscated by Israel for decades.

Guest, Man # 3
I think that all Muslims agree that they should exert more effort to reopen the confiscated Mosques. This is part of regaining our rights. I hope that Israel changes its mentality towards this issue so we can achieve justice. This is a fundamental part of human rights.

Siksik Mosque (II)

The well.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Louis Ferdinand Céline

It gives one a special pleasure to possess all Céline's biographies published in the last twenty years... To read Céline in the original French is still, for me, the standart to evaluate anybody's skills in the language of Rimbaud... Isn't that so, Marta dear?
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Natalia Jukova

Rummaging through Moscow files I found the original photo Natalia offered me. It looks good next to "Red October" piano...
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009