The Culturist on Twitter
Tea with Culture

Podcast featuring discussions and interviews about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.


Entries in Dubai (378)


Why you must watch It Follows


It Follows directed by David Robert Mitchell just got released in the UAE and if it's playing in a cinema near you, please go watch it. I avoided reading about it or seeing any trailers. All I know is that I heard good things about it. Scary and good.

I won't include the trailer, as it gives too much away. But here's the film's synopsis.

For 19-year-old Jay (Monroe), the fall should be about school, boys and weekends at the lake. Yet, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can't shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her.

As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.

With a riveting central performance from Monroe and a strikingly ominous electronic score by Disasterpeace, IT FOLLOWS took the 2014 Cannes Film Festival by storm and will be released by RADiUS in the Winter of 2015.


The ending of the film makes room for a sequel, but I hope there won't be any. It's a great film on its own without turning into a franchise.

It Follows is rated R and 140 minutes long. In the UAE cinemes, the scenes with sexual content are slightly edited and a couple of scenes that contain nudity appear "pixelated"), but none of this spoils the story line. Trust me. 

Here are the three reasons why I loved the film. Whether you're in the UAE or elsewhere, if you get a chance, go to the cinema and watch It Follows. 


The film's style and rhythm 
There are lots of lingering shots in It Follows. The eeriest parts of the film were the over the shoulders camera angles and the panoramic shots. It got me sitting on the edge of my seat, it made me look all over the screen because I felt something was going to happen, that something or someone will jump out of the screen. This film needs to be seen on a big screen to appreciate Robert Mitchell's control over the viewers. 

The film's setting  
It Follows is set in Detroit, but isn't tied to a specific year/decade. There's no clear indication on when the story in is set. It could be in the present or in past, a
nd I liked that about the film. Having said that, the home interiors did look retro. None of the characters were using mobile phones or any modern gadgets. Apart from Yara who was using this clamshell shaped e-reader (that I desperately want) in several scenes. I liked that the film isn't tied to a specific year/decade. 

The music
Oh the music... If you love synth, then this haunting synth heavy film track by Disasterpeace is just for you. You can listen to all 18 tracks below and buy it from here.  I was hooked as soon as I heard the title track on the big screen (no. 2 in the link below) and I knew it would be soundtrack I'd want to own. Although not one to alone late night.  



Exhibition - Fragile States by George Awde at East Wing

© George Awde - Fragile States

Fragile States by George Awde is the latest exhbition at East Wing, opening on Thursday, 14th May at 7pm. The exhibition will go on till 25th June 2015. 

There will be a talk with George Awde and Beate Cegielska, Director of Galleri Image, Aarhus in Denmark at 5pm on 14th May before the exhibition opening. 

It is free to attend, so if you're looking for something intersting to do on a Thursday night, I suggest you come to this. East Wing is one of the handful of galleries in the UAE that shows intelligent photography, so don't miss this.


Fragile States chronicles the transitory existence of a group of young men and boys - many of them migrant laborers, emigrants from Syria and Syrian Kurdistan living in the context of Beirut.

Intermixed with these quiet intimate portraits are landscapes and still lives, which together raise questions around masculinity, citizenship, and the fragile state between adolescence and manhood.  

© George Awde - Fragile States

Considering both land and body, Awde’s work explores the scars of the flesh with those of the soil.  As these men grow and change, the photographs capture physical marks – in the form of tattoos and cuts – giving hints of struggle and survival. Likewise, the landscape allows us to consider our states of belonging. 


Fragile States is a collaborative exchange photographed over a number of years. These photographs act as witness to the subtle passing of time and coming of age for these young men who are caught in-between their unstable homeland and the challenges they face in the margins of Beirut. 



All images courtesy of East Wing.  


Event details
Dates: 14th May - 25th June 2015
Venue: East Wing, Limestone House #12, DIFC, Ritz Carlton Annex, Dubai (location map)
Gallery Hours: Saturday - Thursday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm 


Film Screening: Dingomaro

Cine Club DXB will be hosting a screening of Dingomaro by Kamran Heidari on Thursday, 7th May at A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue in Dubai. 

The documentary follows Hamid Saeed, one of Iran's best known musicians with African roots, and his dream to bring together black musicians in Iran for a big concert. A documentary about the Afro-Iranian music scene and the musicians behind it. I can't wait to see this. 

The screening is at 7.30pm and will be followed by a Q&A with Kamran Heidari’s gallerist Mojgan Endavi-Barbé of Mottahedan Projects. It's free entry, but get there early to get a seat, the cinema accomodates up to 70 people. You can RSVP on the event page on Facebook


Director, 2013, 45mins


Since his Internet hit Bad Shans (hard luck), Hamid Said has become one of the most famous black musicians in Iran. He’s travelling by motorbike across the prov-ince of Hormozgan, which is situated in the South of the country on the Persian Gulf, in order to realise his dream—he wants to organise a concert with the best black musicians in the country.

Besides Persians, Indians, Arabs and Europeans, the province of Hormozgan—Iran’s “black south”—has been influenced primarily by the descendants of slaves and merchants from Africa. Although Shiites, they still hold Voodoo ceremonies just as their African ancestors did. And wakes in Hormozgan are more reminiscent of scenes from New Orleans, with the mourners dancing in an elated and joyous manner to black rhythms.

Filmmaker Kamran Heidari accompanies Hamid Said as he attempts to make his dream come true. He must overcome numerous hurdles along the way: Hormozgan’s landscape, which is as inhospitable as it is breathtaking—travelling from the coast over rugged mountains to the desert; the African spirit rites; and the resistance of his wife, who is completely against his plan.  

You can listen to Hamid Said's Bad Shans here.

Event details
Date: Thursday, 7th May at 7.30pm 
Venue: A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai (location map)
Free entry. 
Event page on Facebook.   



A.i.R Dubai 2015 (Artists in Residence) - Artist workshop and talk on Wednesday, 1st April 2015


Following up on the last AiR Dubai 2015 talk, there's one more talk and workshop taking place on Wednesday, 1st April with fellow artist in residence Sharmeen Syed.

It will take place in the artist in residence house in House no. 33 in Al Fahidi Historical District (also known as Bastakiya). The workshop is from 4.00pm-7.00pm followed by a talk and video screenings between 7.00pm-8.00pm. 

This will be the last time we will be at the house, so if you'd like to visit our studio space, this will be your last chance.  


About Sharmeen Syed:

Sharmeen Syed's practice stems from her background as a researcher and an architect interested in urbanisam and derivative spatio temporal experienes through projected memories and alternative futures. Sharmeen's work tends to be in the context of post-colonial urban histories and applications of post-modernism and urban codes in the global South.

For Art Dubai Projects, Sharmeen has been researching horticulture and gardening histories in Dubai and Madinat Jumeirah as a site. Through an audio guide leading the audience through to a garden, one learns about the fluctuations of hospitality. In the garden, plants sit quietly in a gravel garden bearing witness to a history of migrations while playing the welcoming host to the audience. 



This is what Sharmeen's installation "Of a Radical Hospitality: episodes of conditions, transgressions and impossibility" looked like at Art Dubai, which consisted of and audio tour, plants, gravel, drawings, text and hotel furniture:

Sharmeen Syed - Of a Radical Hospitality: episodes of conditions, transgressions and impossibility (© Hind Mezaina)


Sharmeen Syed - Of a Radical Hospitality: episodes of conditions, transgressions and impossibility (courtesy of Art Dubai)


Sharmeen Syed - Of a Radical Hospitality: episodes of conditions, transgressions and impossibility (courtesy of Art Dubai)


A.i.R Dubai 2015 (Artists in Residence) - Artist talk on Sunday, 29th March 2015


Art Dubai ended on Saturday, 21st March and since then I've been decompressing from a very hectic but also lots of fun five days at the art fair. 

Six artists in residence (including yours truly) have been working since January to create work to show at the fair. If you didn't make it to Art Dubai or didn't get a chance to see our work, there's an artist talk with fellow artist in residence Rheim Alkadhi and myself on Sunday, 29th March at A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue, 7pm -8.30pm.

We will talk about our work, our residency and the work we did for Art Dubai. If you didn't get to see my work at the fair, you will get a chance to see it at the talk, an audio/video essay titled "It may have been where the tales of Sinbad and Aladdin came from". 


Objects at an Art Fair - one of the four programs of interventions performed by Rheim Alkadhi at Art Dubai. The images below is from "Supplication Activity". Rheim asked passers by to write their deepest desires on the back of a receipt which was then folded and inserted into a metal locket and sealed with scented candle wax from Dubai Mall. The amulets were "accumulated together as a mounting cluster of energy, residues of an art fair". 

Rheim Alkadhi - Objects at an Art Fair (image courtesy of Art Dubai)


It may have been where the tales of Sinbad and Aladdin came from is the name of my audio/video essay about Deira which consists of photos I took during the residency mixed with images of old postcards of Deira. The audio part is a script taken from various resources from the past, the present, a mix of fact, fiction and even press releases. The video is 10 minutes long and was projected on a wooden board. Next to the board was an old TV screen playing found footage/old documentaries of Deira filmed in the 1960s and 1970s. 

© Delphine Garde-Mroueh 



I will report back on my experience of the residency, my work and Art Dubai in general soon. In the meantime, hope you can make it to the talk on Sunday. More about it here:   




francOfilm Festival 2015

The 5th edition of  francOfilm Festival 2015 is back, from 19th-21st March. It will take place in Vox Cinemas in Abu Dhabi (Marina Mall) and Dubai (Mall of the Emirates).

This year's edition includes films from Belgium, Canada, France, Haiti, Morocco, Tunisia and will include English subtitles. Tickets for each film costs AED 25 (cheaper than the regular films screening in our cinemas). 

Here's the schedule: 

Thursday, 19th March 2015

At 7.00pm - Deux Jours, Une Nuit / Two Days, One Night (Belgium, 2014) - Duration: 95 min


At 9.00pm - Yasmina ou les 60 noms de l'amour (Tunisia, 2013) - Duration, 90 min




  Friday, 20th March 2015

At 3.00pm ll était une foret / Once Upon A Forest (France, 2013) - Duration: 78 min 


At 6.00pm Assistance Mortelle / Fatal Assistance (Haiti, 2013) - Duration: 84 min


At 9.00pm Fievres / Fevers (Morocco, 2014) - Duration: 90 min


  Saturday, 21st March 2015 

At 3.00pm La petite reine (Canada, 2014) - Duration: 108 min 


At 6.00pm Samba (France, 2014) - Duration: 118 min 



francOfilm Festival 2015


Cinema Akil - Outbox Short Film Festival - 16-18 & 20-22 March 2015


The Cinema Akil Outbox Short Film Festival is a collaboration with Beirut-based Outbox International Short Film Festival. The festival will take place during the Dubai Art Week from 16th-18th March and from 20th-22nd March 2015 in Alserkal Avenue. 

The theme of the festival is "Space Under Construction".

The festival will reflect on the ideas of building, construction, reassessment, consideration, intervention and transformation and change – concepts the surrounding space across the MENA region is grappling with.

The theme also reflects the state of Cinema Akil which is still under construction. The film festival will take place in a special pop-up style set up inside the home of Cinema Akil - which I am looking forward to seeing and visiting when ready.  

The screenings are free. Here's the trailer for the festival. Below it is the schedule and list of films, which you can also find on



Program 1: Construction / Space vs Individual
16 + 20 March (1-3pm & 7-9pm) & 22 March (1-3pm)

Rhino Full Throttle
Directed by: Erik Schmitt | Year: 2013 | Duration: 15’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: German (English subtitles) | Country of Production: Germany

Tom Thumb (Pollicino)
Directed by: Cristiano Anania | Year: 2011 | Duration: 8’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: none | Country of Production: Italy

Studio Beirut 
Directed by: Mokhtar Beyrouth | Year: 2013 | Duration: 14’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: Arabic (english subtitles) | Country of Production: Lebanon

Dig A Hole in My Soil 
Directed by: Elizabeth Wurst | Year: 2012 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Documentary | Language: none | Country of Production: Peru/Germany 

Directed by: Nicolai Troshinsky | Year: 2013 | Duration: 4’ | Genre: Fiction (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: Spain

Yala To the Moon (Yala Al Amar)
Directed by: Jackie Salloum & Suhel Nafar | Year: 2012 | Duration: 7’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: Arabic (english subtitles) | Country of Production: Palestine 

Second Wind
Directed by: Sergey Tsyss | Year: 2012 | Duration: 6’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: none | Country of Production: Russia 

The House 
Directed by: David Buob | Year: 2011 | Duration: 6.5’ | Genre: Fiction (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: Germany 

Directed by: Juan Pablo Zaramella | Year: 2011 | Duration: 6’ | Genre: Fiction (stop motion) | Language: none | Country of Production: Argentina 

The Solitary Life of Cranes
Directed by: Eva Weber | Year: 2008 | Duration: 27’ | Genre: Documentary (live action) | Language: English | Country of Production: United Kingdom 

Mirrors of Silence (Maraya Al Samt)
Directed by: Nawaf Al Janahi | Year: 2006 | Duration: 20’ | Genre: Fiction (live action) | Language: no language | Country of Production: United Arab Emirates


Program 2: Construction / Space for Power
17 + 21 March (1-3pm & 7-9pm) & 22 March (3-5pm)

Oru Buros
Directed by: Anton Brand, Guillaume Klein, Charlotte Quillet, Raphaël Théolade | Year: 2012 | Duration: 5' | Genre: Fiction (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: France

Directed by: Pablo Millan | Year: 2010 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Experimental (animation) | Language: none | Country of Production: Spain

Construction Assault (突击建房 Bauangriff)
Directed by: Laura Engelhardt | Year: 2014 | Duration: 7' | 
Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: German (English SUB) | Country of Production: Germany

Model Village
Directed by: Hayoun Kwon | Year: 2014 | Duration: 10' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: Korean (English SUB) | Country of Production: South Korea

Sleight of Hand
Directed by: Michael Cusack | Year: 2012 | Duration: 9.5' | Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: Australia

Directed by: Maureen Zalloum | Year: 2013 | Duration: 8' | 
Genre: Fiction - Live Action | Language: none | Country of Production: United Kingdom

Directed by: Dairo Cervantes | Year: 2013 | Duration: 16' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: Colombia

Directed by: Frédéric Doazan | Year: 2013 | Duration: 2'' | 
Genre: Experimental - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: France

The Rope
Directed by: Hiba Tawaji | Year: 2013 | Duration: 20' | 
Genre: Fiction - Live Action | Language: Arabic (English SUB) | Country of Production: Lebanon

Directed by: Ali Mustafa | Year: 2014 | Duration: 14' | 
Genre: Fiction - Live Action | Language: Arabic and English (English SUB) | Country of Production: United Arab Emirates

Reality 2.0
Directed by: Victor Orozco Ramirez | Year: 2013 | Duration: 11' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: Spanish (English SUB) | Country of Production: Mexico/Germany

Directed by: Tien-Yu Miao | Year: 2012 | Duration: 6.5' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: None | Country of Production: Taiwan

Rather Be A Stranger
Directed by: Ryan Wilson | Year: 2014 | Duration: 7' | 
Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: English | Country of Production: Lebanon

Choir Tour
Directed by: Edmunds Jansons | Year: 2012 | Duration: 5' | 
Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: None | Country of Production: Latvia



Program 3: Construction / Space as Spectacle
18 March (1-3pm & 7-9pm) + 22 March (5-7pm & 7-9pm)

Directed by: Rob Carter | Year: 2008 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Animation | Language: None | Country of Production: United States 

The Tallest
Directed by: Courtesy Rebecca Ann Tess and Figge von Rosen Galerie | Year: 2014 | Duration: 14’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: English | Country of Production: Germany

Night Lights
Directed by: Tatiana Moshkova, Marina Moshkova | Year: 2013 | Duration: 1’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: None | Country of Production: Russia

The Model (Das Modell)
Directed by: Florian Gwinner | Year: 2006 | Duration: 6’ | Genre: Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: Germany

Jebel Ali
Directed by: Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton | Year: 2014 | Duration: 11’ | Genre: Documentary - Video Art | Language: none | Country of Production: United Arab Emirates / Germany

Directed by: Jonathan Gales | Year: 2012 | Duration: 4’ | Genre: Fiction - Animation | Language: none | Country of Production: United Kingdom

Directed by: Igor Imhoff | Year: 2012 | Duration: 9’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: none | Country of Production: Italy

Last Day of the Republic (Letzter Tag der Republik)
Directed by: Reynold Reynolds | Year: 2010 | Duration: 8’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: German (English SUB) | Country of Production: Germany

Fog and Smoke
Directed by: Jeamin Cha | Year: 2012 | Duration: 20’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: Korean (English SUB) | Country of Production: South Korea

Nijuman No Borei (200,000 Phantoms)
Directed by: Jean-Gabriel Périot | Year: 2007 | Duration: 10.5’ | Genre: Experimental | Language: English | Country of Production: France

Directed by: TareCk Raffoul | Year: 2013 | Duration: 10’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: Portugese (English SUB) | Country of Production: Portugal

Hanasaari A
Directed by: Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolainen | Year: 2009 | Duration: 15’ | Genre: Documentary - Live Action | Language: None | Country of Production: Finland



Event details
Date: 16th - 18th March and 20th - 22nd March 2015
Venue: Warehouse G58, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai 
Free entry. 



Exhibition - Surveillance.02 at East Wing 

Still from Edmund Clark's 'Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann'd'


A new photography exhibition titled Surveillance.02 will open at East Wing on Thursday, 12th Marh 2015 and will go on till Thursday, 30th April 2015.

Curated by Anna Van Lenten and Liza Faktor, the exhibition features work by Massimo BerrutiAdam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Edmund Clark (new work created for Surveillance.02), Yann Mingard, Jenny Odell and Tomas van Houtryve

Surveillance.02, an exhibition of interdisciplinary artists whose practices incorporate camera, satellite, and drone to question corporate and state surveillance, and energy production.

Fueled by curiosity, anger, and humor, these nervy artists are exploring wide-ranging methods and effects of surveillance, and remixing their findings as commentary.

In particular, they are grappling with the human side of the global war on terror, exposing humanity’s permanent wounding of the environment, and engaging with state systems of power and control. At the center of the tensions and anxieties they pursue are the major tangles of convenience and privacy, individual and type, freedom and security.


There will be a talk with the curators on Saturday, 14th March at 2pm, they will discuss their curatorial research and their ongoing discoveries into how artists are using the tools of surveillance technology in their arts practice.  

There will also be a film screening on Tuesday, 24th March at 7pm, World Brain by Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon (trailer and synopsis added below). 


I am VERY excited about this. The exhibition features some of my favourite work by some of my favourite photographers (Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin and Yann Mingard) and can't wait to see Edmund Clark's audio visual piece and watch the movie World Brain. 

The theme of the exhibition is very topical and looking forward to seeing work that will engage us and make us pause and  think about the role of surveillance in our everyday lives and what we take for granted. 


Here are some of the works. If you are in Dubai, don't miss this. 


Massimo Berruti - Hidden Wounds 

Massimo Berruti / AgenceVU, from HiddenWounds

Hidden Wounds is an ongoing portrait series of people in North Waziristan who have been affected by drone strike events; some have been injured, others have lost family members. Like a pebble dropped into water, their physical wounds and psychological trauma ripple outward in rings of collateral damage.

Two such effects are the phobias induced by the violence of the attacks, and the drugs some consume in order to balance the strikes' destabilizing aftermath. Access to North Waziristan is forbidden for journalists—especially foreigners—so for victims afraid of being traced by secret services, Berruti photographs in the places he uses for accommodation.


Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin - Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, The Revolutionary, Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen, 2013

To make the portraits in their project, Broomberg & Chanarin co-opted a four-lens, facial recognition camera developed in Russia for public security or border control. The camera “creates” a seamless face out of many discrete takes. The artists’ concern is that people don’t agree to be photographed in the situations the camera is meant for: crowded train stations, demonstrations, stadiums—any public gathering. Thus, the results come off as evasive—potentially as not in compliance with the state-civil contract. Indeed, Russia has green-lighted using such imagery in court as evidence, akin to a fingerprint. 

In choosing their subjects and their approach, Broomberg & Chanarin invoked two streams of inspiration: first, they categorized their sitters according to basic social types that artist August Sander identified in his comprehensive photographic survey of German society over the first half of the 20th Century. Thus, they have a rebel, a baker, a philosopher, among other “types”.

Second, the artists modeled their photos on Helmar Lerski’s non-heroic portraits, also categorized by profession. Like Lerski, they shot multiple views of one face, from different viewpoints, conveying claustrophobia and the impossibility of concluding anything substantial about the individual person under the skin.


Edmund Clark - Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann’d 

Still from Edmund Clark's 'Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann'd'

Virtue Unmann’d is a new work created for Suveillance.02. It is an audiovisual installation piece that explores traditions of virtue and sacrifice in war in the context of a contemporary battlefield: drone strikes on tribal areas of Pakistan that border Afghanistan.

Clark bases Virtue UnMann’d on research he conducted in Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. On those trips, Clark collaborated with Pakistani artists, met with people from Waziristan who have been directly affected by drone strikes, sourced and created imagery of drones, and filmed the recitation of an ode written by the ancient Roman poet Horace and translated from Latin into Pashto. 


Yann Mingard - Deposit 


Deposit is a photographic project about western civilization’s preoccupation with conserving and guarding organic and digital elements of its culture. From 2009 to 2013, Mingard documented the physical locations and methods with which we collect and archive data: human DNA in the form of slivers of umbilical cord, dental samples, and sperm; DNA of animals extinct in the wild; the seeds of agricultural plants; and, of course, the vast quantities of digital data that we generate, traveling the pathways of the Internet.

Currently, under governmental and private surveillance, “banks” are being built to house stem cells, and blood, sperm, and umbilical cord samples. The means of conservation and research have evolved tremendously. Mingard identifies computers and the Internet as catalysts for this evolution: because of their ubiquity, they are prompting new levels of secrecy and security. For instance, sensitive files created by governments and multinationals are stored in former military bunkers and watched by private guards. Viewed in this context, Yann’s photos point to a bizarre, theatrical, and at times absurd aspect to all this guarding.


Jenny Odell - Land Marks 

In Land Marks, Jenny Odell illuminates the ways that energy production sites scar and indelibly mark the surfaces of the earth. Comprising satellite images of four production and nuclear waste sites, Land Marks erases "the ground" or the natural settings around what constitutes the site in order to better understand the impact of mining, excavation, plutonium production, waste storage, and fracking. For example, with “Athabasca Oil Sands,” she has removed the boreal forest that surrounds the tailings ponds and excavated areas that make up the mine. In the case of “Fracking Patterns in Central Colorado,” Odell has cleared the wooded area around the trails and open areas that have been dug.

Odell’s aim is to reveal everything that counts as the mine/site—excavated areas, trails, roads, cars, buildings, waste ponds—by removing everything else. In doing so she isolates the structure and makes it more legible as a system. The resulting faint etchings are each an ode to systems, a clearly-distinguished, sprawling circuitry of byways, of bulbed and squared-off cul-de-sacs, of delicate threads akin either to neural ganglia in the brain, or architectural blueprints. One has the impression of deep intelligence and colossal waste at the same time.


Tomas van Houtryve - Blue Sky Days 

To gain insight into how our society increasingly uses drones, van Houtryve attached his camera to a modified unmanned aircraft, and flew it over America's drone heartland. Via the pixelated video feed of a drone ground station, van Houtryve was able to cast his gaze upon people and places as never before. As well as the eerie beauty of landscapes and the visual spoils of previously inaccessible locations, he found jarring echoes of scenarios that U.S. military drones spy on and target for killings.




Film screening on Tuesday, 24th March at 7pm. Free entry, but you need to book, send an email to

World Brain by Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon (90 mins)

World Brain is a film and an essay. It takes the viewer through a journey inside the physical places by which the Internet transits: submarine cables, data centers, and satellites. The film adopts the point of view of the data. The audience view the world as if they were information, crossing the planet in an instant, copied in an infinite number of instances or, at the contrary, stored in secret places. Parallel to this exploration is an enquiry on the utopias and the ideologies linked to the emergence of a collective mind and the hypothesis of a global brain.



Exhibition details: 
Thursday, 12th March Opening 7-10pm
Saturday, 14th March - Thursday, 30th April -  Gallery hours: Sat-Thu 10:00am – 3:00pm | 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Saturday, 14th March at 2pm - talk with the curators, Anna Van Lenten and Liza Faktor. Register here.

Tuesday, 24th March at 7pm - film screening World Brain. Register here.

Venue: East Wing, Limestone House # 12, Dubai International Financial Centre (Ritz Carlton Annex), Dubai (location map)  



InVisible - AFAC's Public Art Commission in Dubai 

AFAC’s Public Art Commission “InVisible” was unveiled on November 29th, 2014 in the Shindagha Heritage Village in Dubai featuring work by five visual artists from across the Middle East region. The work will be on display till the end of March 2015. 

Curated by Amanda Abi Khalil, founder of Temporary Art Platform, InVisible questions the "meaning of public art in relation to the Gulf cities in general and to Dubai in particular and invites the public to "intriguing perspectives on the themes of monumentality, permanence, transience and urbanization". 

We came up with the theme “InVisible” given the intangibility, and yet, the omnipresence, of culture. As we are constantly trying to make the case for the importance of arts and culture in today’s Arab society, we often find ourselves straining to articulate the impact of culture upon our lives. 
It seems to be invisible, and yet, many of the important and critical aspects of society are omnipresent, everywhere, in our thoughts, imagery and references. We came to wonder, how is it that the visible cannot be seen? And how come we have to plead for the recognition of the invisible value of art? How can the visible and the invisible be represented together, at play with each other, in a public space that will allow for this tenuousness and ambiguity? 

Inspired by the fleeting nature of culture materiality, which fades, disappears, loses its original meaning, or gets replaced by something new, we had to ask, how can public art offer a space for what is lost and what will remain? And how do these questions pertain to a city as vibrant as Dubai?


Here's a selection of images of the work by each artist that can be found in the Shindagha Heritage Village and after the images you can watch a video featuring the curator and the artists talking about their work. 


Stand Here by Shaikha Al Mazrou (UAE)



Alien Technology by Monira Al-Qadiri (Kuwait)



Deer in the Headlights by Doa Ali (Egypt)



Collapsing Clouds of Gas and Dust” by Vartan Avakian (Lebanon)



Boulder Plot by Vikram Divecha (UAE)



Video about InVisible



You can read more about this commission and about each work here



[images via]


Exhibition - In the Shadow of the Pyramids by Laura El-Tantawy at Gulf Photo Plus


In the Shadow of the Pyramids by Laura El-Tantawy is the latest exhibition at Gulf Photo Plus, on till Saturday, 4th April 2015.  

Laura El-Tantawy began this series in 2005 when she was compelled to explore the essence of Egyptian identity in the hope of coming to terms with her own. Guided by childhood memories, her photographs are not meant to be objective observations of a nation, but rather personal reflections of Egypt through her own eyes.

In the Shadow of the Pyramids is a first person perspective exploring memory and identity. With images spanning 2005 to 2014, what began as a look in the mirror to understand the essence of Egyptian identity expanded into an exploration of the trials and tribulations of a turbulent nation. The result is dark, sentimental and passionate.


Here's a small selection of images from the exhibition.


The series was published in a book that was released earlier this year. The book can be purchased at Gulf Photo Plus or ordered online.

Juxtaposing the innocence of the past with the obscurity of the present, the book is an experience, edited to look like a one night’s encounter. A peaceful and tranquil day suddenly turns violent and chaotic, it’s claustrophobic, until a new dawn rises and there is hope again. 


Images via Gulf Photo Plus and Laura El-Tantawy. © Laura El-Tantawy


Exhibition details
Dates: 4th March - 4th April 2015
Venue: Gulf Photo Plus, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai (location map)  


Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 38 Next 10 Entries »