My 2014 Highlights
2014 has been a fun year for me. It included quite a few trips to Europe (London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, Amsterdam) and I started working on a couple of photography projects and attended a few film festivals (attending the Berlinale was a major highlight for me).
I also got to see a lot of exhibitions in the UAE and abroad, my list of favourites can be found here.
In the UAE, the arts and culture calendar was as busy as ever, especially in March. Some of my favourite discoveries that month included:
- Domino Dancing by Anahita Razmi found in Carbon 12's booth at Art Dubai (the whole video is six and a half hours long, but here's a very short extract)
"The video Domino Dancing is showing a group of dancers participating in a Dance Marathon Party, that was organized in a Tehran livingroom in January 2014. As the only party music, the chorus line of Pet Shop Boys Hit "Domino Dancing" is repeated over & over again (ALL DAY ALL DAY WATCH THEM ALL FALL DOWN, ALL DAY ALL DAY, DOMINO DANCING). The dancing to these two lines goes on for hours, until - one by one - the dancers drop out of the race.
Dancing, mixed gender parties, western music & alcohol are officially forbidden in Iran, - still people gather in private homes to sidestep restrictions. The work is relating to that hidden way of rebellion, - but by using the format of a dance marathon, the symbolic uprising is superimposed by an exhausting and demoralizing loop of ever-repeating body movement. WATCH THEM ALL FALL DOWN sings Neil Tenant over and over again, the forecast of the dancers dropping out, one after another, is inevitable.
- I also enjoyed this year's edition of Global Art Forum at Art Dubai. The opening of East Wing a new photography gallery was a much needed and welcome addition to the list of galleries in the UAE. Its aim is to develop "an international platform for photography to open up new dialogues in photography, with a keen eye on innovated artistic practice".
In April I attended a workshop hosted by Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah, with the Amsterdam based research platform Failed Architecture. We focused on Bank Street and the discussions and work from it reinvigorated me from a creative slump. I wrote about it here and here.
After a long and hot summer, the art season in Dubai started with a series of talks about sound art presented by sound artists Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver.
Killer Road is a sound exploration of the tragic death of Nico, Velvet Underground vocalist and 60s icon, while riding her bike on the island of Ibiza in the summer of 1988. A hypnotic meditation on the idea of perpetual motion and the cycle of life and death, the composition features Patti Smith lending her unique voice to the last poems written by the artist.
I also really enjoyed Automobile by Joe Namy at Abu Dhabi Art, a variable channel sound performance of cars with super modified stereo systems. It was actually a lot of fun and wish it was a performance that was open to the wider public. Here are a couple of Vines I took that night:
Music wise, I did not attend as many music gigs as I wanted to this year, but I did enjoy the small and intimate concert at The Fridge with Michael Rexen in January.
Back in Dubai, DUST night with the Flamnigods concert at The Music Room and the Sub-Sonic Live gig featuring Jagwar Ma, Zahed Sultan and Andy Buchan in October were fun.
On a personal note, I threw a party to celebrate 4 3/4 years of the blog in September which turned out to be a lot of fun. The blog turned 5 in December.
My work in Vantage Point 2, Sharjah Art Foundation In March I exhibited a new series of photographs titled Deira Polaroids at SIKKA and my Al Khazzan Park series at Tashkeel.
I was also in a couple of group exhibitions in Sharjah, Encounter - Listening to the City in Maraya Art Park and Sharjah Vantage Point 2 at Sharjah Art Foundation (was also invited to be part of a panel talk about this exhibition).
And most recently in Al Sourat Photo Festival in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I wrote a piece about Al Naser Leisureland that got published in Uncommon Dubai. I was also invited to be on a panel talk about culture in Dubai at ISEA.
Oh, and I met Shia LaBeouf.
Here's to more adventures and trips in 2015.