Articles

Mona Eltahawy

“We went on hajj soon after we arrived in Saudi, and I was groped beside the Kaaba, as I was kissing the black stone — the heavenly white stone that was tainted black by the sins of humanity.”

Letter from the Creative Director

The issue of Bidoun you hold in your hands has a photograph affixed to its cover.

It Was a Publisher’s Idea

On the Bidoun Library.

Michael Stevenson: The deck is always stacked

It is a rare Marxist who does not believe in God but swears that the existence of the devil can be proven by the swing of a door.

Michelle Kuo

“If I can read a description of a work and that’s all that you need to know about the work, it’s probably not a very interesting work.”

Yasmine Hamdan

It’s very weird, because you can change the meaning just by taking a bath beforehand, or having a fight with your mother. I’m a moody singer.

Navid Negahban

“I have friends in high school who went to the front line, they come back to school… or they don’t come back, and there’s a red tulip sitting in the chair next to you, and you know that the person is not coming back.”

Conner Habib

“We pretend that sex is some sort of unified animal instinct and that everyone shares it. That’s true at some level, obviously, but our desires are our own. And they are little pathways into our consciousness.”

Marina Warner

“My favorite present to give people used to be a seahorse. They cost twenty pence or something — in those days it was probably a florin — in a little shop that sold straw and raffia and natural products of that kind. For a long time I wanted to write about seahorses, because the male carries the baby.”

Documenta 13

One could argue that the thirteenth edition of Documenta, the Kassel quinquennial that ran for one hundred days last summer, was the most Bidoun ever.

Vishal Jugdeo’s Goods Carrier

Jugdeo’s video employs minimal means to inhabit his own outsiderness.

Zahi Hawass

“Revolution happened. The poor became rich, the rich became poor. The lady that used to have to look in the water to see her face, now she has a mirror. They raped the pyramids. The farmer who used to go to the field with an axe, now he goes with a gun. Three people leave their homes in the morning, two come back in the evening.”

Larry Gagosian

“I started selling posters because I thought I could make more money that way than parking cars. Simple as that. I saw somebody else selling posters and I basically just copied their business. It was a total lack of imagination.”

Jeremy Deller

“Genuine boredom… bloody hell, I remember boredom. It’s amazing! Sunday afternoon, on a wet Sunday afternoon, that’s when you sort of took to your bedroom and got your books out or something.”

Hossein Amanat

“One gets very impressed by the forms in Iranian architecture. One of the greatest messages is the sequence of volumes: how an outdoor space, say, can give you an impression of enclosure, and then you come to a smaller space, or a lower or higher space, the interrelations of different volumes and proportions — the time it takes to walk through, the amount of light you experience as you pass…”

Rokni Haerizadeh’s The Reign of Winter

When the sheets are all sewn together, the work will represent an unlikely, if not maudlin, take on this exploding piñata of privilege.

Tongues: Glossolalia going viral

Amid the rising, falling tide of gobbledygook the preacher would suddenly start to shout in Somali.

The Imaginary Elsewhere: How not to think about diasporic art

The political import of these works has less to do with representation than with the pleasures and perils of storytelling, the effort to recast the everyday into mythical structures that speak to universal desires.

Aliens: The Arabs of Bosnia and the War on Terror

Banners like Non-Alignment and Islam can be taken down and rolled up as circumstances dictate, but people often get left behind.

Gulfiwood: Culture and society in South Asian Arabia

There is a body of cinema about life in the Gulf, that is consumed by the majority of the population of the Gulf, that requires no special pleading or state subsidy to exist — the popular culture of the Arab working class, most of whom happen to be Indian.