January 16, 2009 - Bidoun - Issue 16: KIDS out now
January 16, 2009

Issue 16: KIDS out now

Issue 16: KIDS out now!


“At some point, one of my cousins who was still in Kuwait had gotten hold of a Ouija board. Maybe she’d had it from before, I don’t know. But she brought it over to our house, and we played with it a lot. One night we used Ouija board in my sister’s room. We were trying to channel Marilyn Monroe, but somehow we ended up with Khomeini.” – Fatima Al Qadiri

“My favorite thing was to wake up every morning and go look for the dead body. If it wasn’t around the corner, we would get the binoculars and go up on the roof.” – Gabi Asfour

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Bidoun 16, on newsstands now, takes KIDS as its theme. Inviting kids past and present to think about that curious time, we ended up with something slightly dark, slightly hysterical, often irreverent.

In a special “Children of War” series, Bidoun engages young people who came of age during three major conflicts: Gabi and Julien Asfour ran around the mean streets of war-time Beirut picking fights and picking up girls as members of a graffiti gang called “The Strangers,” Fatima Al Qadiri and Khalid Al Gharaballi played hide and seek and hoarded toys as Iraqis marauded about Kuwait in what was the First Gulf War, and Emad Abdelkarim Ali was fifteen years old when the American invasion of Iraq began. In its midst, he and his brother and father sold Pepsi, cigarettes, and various unmentionables to restive American soldiers.

Also in the KIDS section, Lina Mounzer looks back to the most unlikely of children’s musicals, a Lebanese civil war era film starring Lebanon’s own Partridge family, the singing Bandaly’s. Alexander Provan traces the route of a seventeen year-old murderer named Lee Boyd Malvo. Sophia Al-Maria visits the blockbuster Emirati animation sitcom Freej and en route thinks back to its camp forerunner: The Golden Girls. Tom Morton charts the underground world of Harry Potter erotica the boy-star has spawned, and Pamela Karimi traces the circulation of Oshin, a Meiji-era Japanese program that left its nymphesque shestar a heroine to young girls and boys alike in post-revolutionary Iran.

KIDS inspired an assortment of artist projects. In “Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” Serkan Taycan curates other-worldly studio photographs celebrating Turkish circumcision rites. Vartan Avakian, in “Some Things Cannot Be Made in China,” summons up three products—all Chinese-made—that marked his family’s bunker amid the civil war in Lebanon. In “Strike The Empire Back,” Michael Rakowitz tracks the fantastic life of a Star Wars fetish in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. With “Stay Out of My Room,” Annabel Mehran photographs friends of Bidoun in their childhood rooms, and finally, Akram Zaatari restages the absurdity of baby photographs with his contemporaries in “Another Resolution.”

In the arts, Negar Azimi profiles the design cum art collective Slavs and Tatars and Karthik Pandian sits down with Shahab Fotouhi’s latest project, a radical restaging of Abbas Kiarostami’s First Case, Second Case on Tehran motorways. And we have our usual installment of columns on travel, museums, collections, and infrastructure. The latter column features a long conversation with elders from the Kanoon – Iran’s “Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children” – a collective charged with producing children’s books and films and equally a forerunner to many of the protagonists of the Iranian new wave.

Exhibition reviews include: Cold War Modern/Human Conditions/Beirut Every Other Day/Buckminster Fuller/Roads Were Open – Roads Were Closed/Walid Raad/Taipei Biennial/Pia Ronicke and Zeynel Abidin Kizilyaprak/The Jerusalem Show/Yael Bartana.

All of this plus Arabic sign language! And the first ever architecture design contest for kids to predict the Emirates of tomorrow!

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