Arteberry & 133 Art Gallery present for the first time in Dubai
Massimo Balestrini Keep Going 4th February 2013
Art exhibition opening DMC building 8, Unit 218 RSVP +971 566 94 95 65, +971 505 57 98 50 email@example.com
Design When Tradition Gives, Creativity...
Art as Life
Fold Lab 18 Tiger Translate Dubai 2013
Photography Burma 38 Flesh Love 60
Fashion Sing A Pure
Dans Mes Mains
Follow 90 Galliano: Conscience or Conscious?
Shoes for the Wild at Heart
Music K-Pop: Don’t worry it’ll be gone soon
The Asian Underground and...
Asian Vibes - Yesterday & Tomorrow
Album Review - Koi No Yokan
Literature Historical Science Speculative Fiction 106 Modern Korean Wedding Factory
My Father’s Shoes
Akuin Akka 111 Book Review 112 On Mys Shelf
Last Call History is bored of repeating itself
A FULL-DAY CREATIVE AND DESIGN CONFERENCE FEATURING VISIONARY TALKS IN THE FIELDS OF GRAPHIC DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM AND ANIMATION Featured speakers:
20 MARCH 2013
Centrepoint Theatre, Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC) For more information, visit:
www.visualarabia.com Presenting Partner
quint magazine | issue 17 | January - February 2013 founded in 2010 by Zaina Shreidi & Gyula Deak
Editor in Chief
Zaina Shreidi firstname.lastname@example.org
This production and its entire contents are protected by copyright. No use or reprint (including disclosure) may be made of all or any part of this publication in any manner or form whatsoever without the prior written consent of quint. Views expressed in quint magazine do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editors or parent company. quint is a division and registered trademark of Prolab Digital LLC.
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After graduating in Graphic Design from the University of Fine Arts in Hungary, Eszter enrolled in the Typography programme of the Moholy-Nagy Art University. After a few years of agency experience she now works as a freelance graphic designer, focusing mainly on branding and brand identity for bars and restaurants. Eszter finds it very important to merge manual techniques into her work. She creates sketchbooks from a mixture of drawings, notes, and “found typography” from her travels. (behance.net/lakieszti)
Balazs was born in 1978 in Budapest. After graduating from high school he studied to become a photographer. He spent his internship at Magyar Narancs, a well-known Hungarian political weekly publication, where he was influenced by the autonomous report photos of Miklos Deri. Later he worked for Wanted and Wan2 music magazines and through time he became a Photography Editor. He was the official photographer of the Sziget Festival for years. He became blogger of the year in 2005 in Hungary with his photo blog entitled “fnyrzkny”. He is currently working as a freelancer.
I am an undergraduate graphic design student at the University of Chile who enjoys illustration and CGI as much as films and electro music. I have been an activist at the students demonstrations and I’m looking forward to a quality design and arts education here in Chile.
Ross Gardiner is a fiction and humor writer from the Highlands of Scotland. Born in 1987 he lived in Scotland until 2008, when he decided to move east to Seoul, South Korea. He has travelled extensively around various parts of the world, carrying a keyboard, a coffee and a carton of smokes. Oh and he’s not on Facebook. You can find out more about his views on the topic on YouTube.
Jessica Milek is a Canadian in her 20s who has been residing in Dubai since the year 2000. She is currently studying mass communications and psychology in the hopes of ameliorating her life ambition, and to improve in the art of writing. She firmly believes in honesty and pure information that is creative in deliverance. She fascinated by different cultures, people and art, yet music is her ultimate passion. She uses writing as her gateway to express, enlighten and enrich her audience. In general she is a girl with outgoing charm and loves to discover.
Wael Al Fatayri
Iga Drobisz & Greg Adamski
Trevor is drawn to the stranger things of life, and prefers to champion objective individualism, through the spirit of man and brain. You can hear his preaching on all things musicical and poetic. He has no awards to date, no accomplishments, no humour and no character as he finds them too mainstream. You may find him in the dark alleys and dank stairwells hangin’ with his jin and tonic.
Growing up in Dubai among a labyrinth of highways and modern architecture that is constantly in flux, spawned my interest in city spaces and how we interpret them. After high school in Dubai I moved to London to do a Foundation Diploma at Chelsea College of Art and Design. This was then followed by a BA in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins. London introduced me to the excitement of roads that meander, picnics and architecture conceived before the 70’s, among many other things of course. Most of my work has emerged from the dichotomy between these two places.
Fashion and music are big parts of Laura’s life, then again so is drinking and reading. Born in Worcester, England in the summer of 1982, she escaped to live and enjoy Amsterdam in spring 2006 and never left. You can ask her anything about Bob Dylan or David Bowie and be surprised if she doesn’t know the answer and don’t expect to see her in shoes that are less than 8 inches high, unless it’s snowing and even then will still rock a wedge. Fashion is pain, friends.
Obsessed. That’s the best word to describe the 27-year-old Lebanese fashionista and music enthusiast. Wael’s love for music, fashion, arts and beauty is his primary drive in life and for all of his accomplishments. As a fashion buyer, Wael has been featured as an expert guest on fashion TV shows in the middle east.
Where LOVE meets PHOTOGRAPHY.
EVENTS INTERIORS EXHIBITIONS CANVASES PHOTOGRAPHS AND MORE
Prolab digital offers turnkey solutions for digital printing and signage fabrication services, aimed at facilitating your events, interiors, exhibitions, canvases, photographs and more. We offer quality at affordable prices.
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Happy New Year! We hope you all enjoyed your winter and had an incredible start to the new year. To kick things off, we’ve decided to dedicate this issue to Asia, and more specifically, the Far East. We’re incredibly fascinated with the Far East, quite possibly because we don’t know very much about it. The unknown is always intriguing after all. But we’ve grown frustrated with the lack of information. There simply isn’t as much information about the Asian art scenes as there is on the West. This is particularly strange considering we’re based in Dubai - which is in Asia. So why is it that we hear so little about the talent of the Far East? And so we arrived at our 17th issue. Flip through our pages for our musings and inquiries, our findings, and our expressions, all inspired and influenced by the Far East. But this isn’t a one-time thing. We aim to make quint magazine more diverse, a good healthy mix of artwork and opinion from as many continents as possible. We’ll also be continuing this on our blog, so please check it out for regular posts on international art scenes, interviews with artists, links to blogs, websites, and articles, and the occasional Korean pop song. Thanks for reading, and happy 2013!
PUMA CREATIVE FACTORY: LOVE THY PLANET Environmentally friendly fashion is a key trend for 2013 and it’s an important focus for sports lifestyle brand PUMA. We were lucky enough to take part in the PUMA Creative Factory 3: Love Thy Planet workshop, to help spread the word about the importance of sustainability. Along with over 250 of Dubai’s creative movers and shakers we went out to the desert to print our own tee and tote bag designs using Lumi natural ink which develops in sunlight. We took photos showing our interpretation of sustainability and also things we’d like to preserve for future generations, transferred the images onto negatives, then printed the designs onto eco-friendly tees and totes using the Lumi Ink. To find out more about the PUMA Creative Factory: Love Thy Planet check out www.pumalovethyplanet.com
QUINT DESIGN SHOP Have you visited the quint magazine website recently? We’ve just launched the quint design shop! Currently on offer are incredible vintage cameras from as far back as the 1930s. Check out the site and come by the quint studio to pick up your very own vintage camera! In great working condition, these cameras are great for experimenting with film, learning more about photography, and looking really cool. Keep an eye out on the store and our facebook page as we’ll be adding more great products to the quint design shop throughout the year.
For anyone who has ever experienced a migraine, shooting at sources of light isn’t such a far-fetched idea. And thanks to the very creative folks at Bit Play Inc, you can actually point a “gun” (it’s not real, sorry kids) and shoot at your lamp to turn it off. It’s simple, it’s genius, and we love toy guns.
Scent of Time cloc by Hyun Choi Ever wish you could tell what time of day it was by taking a whiff? No? Well you’re thinking it now. This concept for a clock that releases different scents each hour actually sounds like fun. You can even choose the scents released by using fragrance capsules. Yup - the idea is that you capture certain scents and choose which hour they will be released. 8 am coffee, 12 pm chocolate cake, 1 am grilled cheese... The possibilities are endless! Of course it would be far too easy to pull pranks as well. Or rather fart too easy. Har har har.
Architectural and Cultural Guide Pyongyang by Philipp Mueser Get a rare glimpse into the capital of communist North Korea - a city described by the author as “arguably the world’s best preserved open-air museum of socialist architecture”. Considering the near impossibility of ever popping in for a visit (for fear of being accused of espionage), this book quite probably our best opportunity to gain some understanding of life in North Korea. http://www.amazon.com/Architectural-Cultural-Pyongyang-Philipp-Meuser/dp/3869221879
Talking Japanese Watches Lonely? Bored? With your very own Talking Japanese Watch you’ll always have a friend near by. This charming wrist-bound companion will even talk back, announcing the time in its native language. And maybe you’ll pick up some Japanese while you’re at it. Who knows, you could even use it to make new friends who don’t know you as ‘that weird dude who talks to his watch’. http://fab.com/sale/16712/product/319883/
Hot Pink Warriors Justin Lee creates hot pink terracotta warriors, and they’re pretty awesome. Ancient Asian tradition mixed with pop art sensibilities is just what we (and you, and everyone) need. All the time. Bring home your very own pink warrior and strike fear and jealousy into the hearts of all your hipster friends. http://theobjectroom.co.nz/products/fmtwnp/ farm-the-warrior-neon-pink
When I Was Four Tote Bags These gorgeous tote bags decorated with Singaporean food are just the cutest thing we’ve ever seen. We want to collect them all! Bright, colourful, nostalgic, and educational - what more could you want in a tote bag? Grab these before Art Week so you can carry all those flyers, brochures, and quint magazines in style. We particularly love the Ice Popsicles, Ang Ku Kueh, and Chwee Kueh! http://wheniwasfour.com/
Music mixing is no longer just reserved for professional DJs. The Pokket-Mixer is the first mobile mini DJ mixer for everybody. It„s easy to use and since it needs no power supply is extremely versatile and mobile. The handy Pokket-Mixer is easy to wire up and is ready in just 30 seconds. So anyone can easily and spontaneously be a DJ anywhere and at any time. The small lightweight mixer is just 130 grams, and comes in 7 colors. Hand-made in Berlin.
This is the future of sound. Libratone makes sound systems for modern lifestyles. The AirPlay technology gives you freedom to have full control without speaker cables. Libratone, a brand known in Europe for its innovative wireless sound solutions makes its exclusive debut in Virgin Megastores in the Middle East with the introduction of three cutting-edge wireless sound systems for an exclusive music experience: the Libratone Live, Libratone Lounge and the newly launched Libratone Zipp. With the liberation of sound having always been Libratone’s mantra, these sound systems allow audio to flow freely, without wires or loss of sound quality. All three sound systems allow users to stream songs from iTunes on Mac or PC, as well as music stored on their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, through their Wi-Fi networks, via Apple’s AirPlay® technology.
Whatever It Takes iPhone 5 Covers Following the release of the highly anticipated iPhone 5, Virgin Megastore is proud to introduce you to the iPhone 5 Premium Gel Shell collection from charity artwork campaign, Whatever It Takes. The collection features artworks which have been exclusively donated to Whatever It Takes by leading figures in the world of fashion, film, and music including Dame Vivienne Westwood, Samuel L. Jackson and Kanye West. Each case comes with original artwork drawn by the celebrity with a message of hope for the future. These charitable smart phone cases are sure to be on everyone’s wish list this year and would make a great gift for a tech-savvy and fashion-forward friend.
TED Unrated on DVD and Blu Ray Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of Ted. In the live action/CG animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish... and has refused to leave his side ever since. With co-star Mila Kunis, this movie is packed with laughs and absurdity for your entertainment. Now available on DVD and Blu Ray at Virgin Megastore.
Eton Rukus Solar Rock the park, campsite, beach or the backyard. Wherever there’s sun, you’ve got an instant party. Heavy bass and lightweight, connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth enabled device and start blasting your favourite tunes in stereo sound. This super-efficient solar panel powers both the music and the fun. Stream all your music from any Bluetooth enabled smartphone, tablet or computer and control your tunes from your device. No wires. No docks. No hassle. With one-touch pairing you’ll be jamming in no time!
History is a vast discipline, and while one can try to learn ‘all’ of it, all is both unqualifiable and infinite: the history of everything is a near impossibility. The history of all design can seem as unlikely, but then there’s Victor Margolin, and he doesn’t seem to think it is. It’s not out yet, but his The World History of Design pledges to tell exactly the story of its title. Daunting, no? For those who haven’t noticed, I’ve had a penchant towards the history of design for the past few months, and can comfortably discuss the details of the rise of the American golden age (with the beginning of Consumerism), debate the good and bad of the Bauhaus, explain the virtues of postmodern design, and wax endlessly about the avant-garde movements of the years of World War I. What I’ve found I can’t discuss is my more immediate concern. I am Lebanese. I know nothing about the design cultures of pre-contemporary Arabia. Yes, we all know our calligraphies, the decorative ‘arabesques’ that adorn buildings, and the occasional handicraft that we find in a souk somewhere. But that’s it. That’s all I know, as a design historian. Then there’s Africa. There has to be good work being produced and good work previously created in most of Africa. If we stick to an elitist definition of design, then at least the more industrialised (or historically industrious) nations would have some stories to tell. Latin America: the Rio 2016 logo on its own makes me want to learn more about their visual cultures, although I must admit I cannot see much industrial or fashion design from Brazil, Peru, Argentina, or Chile being bought by me and my peers, except as novelty items. Then again, who’s to say what they’re capable of, if the spotlight was directed at them? Asian culture, visual and industrial, has had a wider impact on the international design community, particularly through the Japanese and Chinese styles, although Indian traditions are being incorporated into more and more cultural creations every year. The periphery states, with much less international presence (politically and economically) have yet to make their voices heard, but otherwise, Japan and China have entered Western culture on many levels, through Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound’s fascination with their literature, the Art Deco obsession with their visual styles, and the more contemporary interests in manga and Chinese painting. So maybe that’s the beginning and end of the whole thing: just like Arab design, there are our calligraphies and their pictograms, our arabesques and their prints, and their more contemporary works. That can’t be all of it though. Let us divide graphic design into several other disciplines, or criteria, that it incorporates: typography, illustration or photography, layout, and colour. Industrial design and fashion design
can be dissected into similarly more general ‘departments’. The story of typography and calligraphy, in Asia, in the West, and in Arabia makes sense, and is more or less up to date: calligraphic styles are being morphed into fonts, and while I may not know the specific Chinese fonts that I need, I also don’t know the language, so can’t really know the fonts. When it comes to illustration and photography, then we kind of already have most of that too: our calligraphic and arabesque patterns in Arabic design are parallels to the equally old illuminated manuscript, which, in turn, is comparable to traditional Chinese painting, Japanese prints, and Indian books and paintings. Photography has, since its inception, been a modern, international style, individualised by each artist not according to their nation’s tradition but in line with their personal tastes. Contemporary illustration is a much more interesting, richer, and complex space, where the line between artists and designers is blurred and the degrees of experimentation are endless, where style is constrained by the project at hand, not only by the artist’s ‘voice’, and where many wonderful collages have been created to further enhance production. There is a lot of that in Middle Eastern illustration, whereas Asian work focuses on more traditional themes. Chinese painting has noticeably evolved, sometimes slowly, with every dynasty. Japanese woodblock prints and ukiyo-e are the more recognisable of historical Asian art. Indian art really kicks off with the British period, but only in more contemporary times does it finally find a voice; Buddhist and Hindu folk painting and sculpture has, however, been adapted into Western poster design along with other forms of design. Japanese poster design, in particular, has received international acclaim for its quality and expressive strength. Chinese painting still lives on as a curiosity for most Western designers, and was evolved during communist China’s revolutionary days to become part of its poster culture. So the key here is that it’s all there. Layout and colour are borrowed, in both Arab and Asian work, from the calligraphic and painterly styles of their historical ancestors, giving them the importance of captions in graphic design in Asia. The problem we’re facing is that, while the world begins to look to non-Western sources of inspiration and for cultural growth outside the confines of Europe and North America, the rich heritage of places like Asia, Arabia, Africa, and Latin America have been limited by their own traditional constraints. As Indians are learning to do with their art, so should the rest of the non-Western world learn to do with their design: a critical approach that gives us the chance to rethink our output will help the discipline evolve in the most subversive and unexpected ways. Creativity and innovation, minus the hype.
The title ‘Art as Life’ is unashamedly stolen from a Bauhaus exhibition I saw at The Barbican over the summer in London. I stole it because it encapsulates rather well what I wish to discuss. Art (architecture, craft, fashion, film, fine art, furniture design, graphic design, photography, product design) Life (health, play, social, sport, travel, work). Art and life are one. Ok you get the point. Since this is such a sprawling subject I am going to address it from a focused angle that can then be outwardly related to other subjects. For this discussion I’m choosing ‘architecture’ from the art section and ‘health’ from the life section and will proceed to write about those subjects for a bit in the hopes that I can articulate how they conflate as I know they do. It could be argued that the whole modernist movement was driven by a deep concern for health triggered by the events of the early part of the twentieth century. Images of sports men and women, gymnasts, dancers and swimmers were extensively circulated in mass media, consolidating the beginning of an eternal fascination with health and the body. Architects were concerned with light, clean spaces that encouraged light, clean, and in turn, healthy lives. On a more ideological level these types of spaces represented a sort of ‘utopian’ future where people lived healthy and egalitarian lives. Le Corbusier both pioneered and criticized such ideologies through his monumental achievement of 75 edifices and 42 major city-planning projects, as well as 34 books and hundreds of articles. In 1948 he formulated the ‘Modular’, which was an architectural system based on the golden section and the human scale. Although the birth of the ‘Modular’ came from a very human place and its intention was very utopian, he wanted people to live in simple, bright, and functional spaces. He was often widely criticised for forcing happiness on the occupants of his buildings with an almost totalitarian approach. It was argued that his utopian ideas of functional harmony manifested themselves reversely and embodied an urban dystopia plagued by ‘machines for living’. Very much inspired by Le Corbusier, the Japanese architect Tadao Ando creates visually clean spaces based on geometric form. He studied enso (the circles drawn by Zen Buddhists to symbolise oneness and enlightenment) acknowledging that geometric form relates as much to Western architecture as it does to Eastern thought. However, I won’t delve too much into his work but rather into his lifestyle. Ando’s experience as a 17 year old professional boxer was arguably a very significant influence on his movement towards architecture. He explains how in the following quote:
“Boxing is a combat sport in which you rely on yourself in the months proceeding a bout, you dedicate yourself to training body and mind through practice and fasting. It is a draconian sport on which you can gamble your life, embracing both solitude and glory. My experience as a boxer, the intensity of leaping into the ring, the loneliness of having to fight utterly by oneself, relying on no-one, became my creative touchstone.” Perhaps it is a boxer’s self discipline and ability to conquer fear, as well as the philosophy that strength is achieved through continuity that has shaped Ando to be the architect he is today. Similarly, at the Bauhaus school in Germany (1919-1933) it was advocated that students did a series of stretching and breathing exercises before drawing. Being in tune with your body was an intrinsic part of being in tune with your work. Terunobu Fujimori is a Japanese architect who revels in the physical building of his projects more than the planning of them. He also encourages his clients to be involved in the construction of their own houses. He encouraged the owners of Burnt Cedar House to re-sand the interior wooden panelling of their house in order to obtain the exact texture they wanted. He believes that “people want to live longer in houses they have helped build and it enables them to understand that architecture is not difficult.” His own personal Too Tall Teahouse (2004) is quite ethereal to behold. Positioned where he can observe the mountains as well as the town below, this tiny tea house serves an important purpose in maintaining mental wellbeing as described by Fujimori: “Amid the frantic pace of twenty-first century life we need more than ever spaces where we can escape and pause for a drink of tea, quietly still the mind, and wipe away anxiety, a space where we can enjoy the soothing company of a few close friends...’ So from the Bauhaus school, to health in the twentieth century, to Le Corbusier’s ‘Modular’s’, to Tadao Ando’s boxing career, to tea houses, this discussion could all sound terribly disjointed in both content and form. I suppose that is the point: to figure out that there is in fact continuity in the apparently compartmentalized existence of our lives. Personally, it got me thinking about the spaces I inhabit and whether or not they might be conducive to a healthy life, about whether running influences my drawing, about the accessibility of physically building a house and about whether tea does actually help me think. After all, to end on a quote by designer Michael Wolff: “everyone knows that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, what few people realise, is it is only through the parts that the whole gets delivered.” Watch Michael Wolff’s short documentary here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTfAzjBTokc
Experimental Origami designs from locally based architect Hadeel Subahi
Have you always been interested in Origami or is this a recently realized passion? Ive been interested in Origami since I learned how to fold paper planes and boats, I was so amazed at how a flat piece of paper can be sculpted and used for things other than crayons, I spent a good amount of time appreciating Origami and reading about it, but never had the time/guts to start making it until recently. And now, I don’t ever want to stop, I wish I started earlier! Does your education and experience in architecture come into play when you’re creating these pieces? It’s the other way around, as I was studying architecture and at work, my fascination with Origami increased as I’m always inspired by the geometry that results out of folding paper and I would try to incorporate it somehow in my architectural designs or presentations. It’s fascinating how a paper can look so solid or soft and fluffy just by the way you fold it!
After spending long hours/days making the units I failed sometimes in assembling them and had to remake at least each piece twice We love that you’re selling some of your awesome creations as well! What are some of the different pieces people can buy? As you can see am in love with lighting and the way light goes through paper layers. There is something special about it that is unlike other materials, so whenever I make new shapes I try to make them as lampshades as well. I also make different origami balls that can be used as tables center pieces or office decoration. I’ve also made some trophy heads - no dead animals! Basically all my experiments and designs that I post on my blog and facebook page can be remade and custom made to order. How can people get in touch if they’d like to buy a piece for themselves?
What has been the most challenging aspect of undertaking such complicated creations?
Stay up to date with my experimental designs on facebook and tumblr: facebook.com/foldLab fold-lab.tumblr.com
The most challenging part is patience; you need whole load of patience to make Origami because the slightest mistake multiplies rapidly. Also most of the modular Origami I experienced were challenging to assemble.
And get in touch with me via email on firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries or orders.
Tiger Translate Dubai 2013 is already the party of the year, and we’re hardly out of January. With incredible music and art, an awesome crowd, and an incredible venue, we certainly hope that brands, clubs, and everyone else stands up and takes notice of how things should be done! With a great mix of local and international talent from various backgrounds and disciplines, we were treated to an explosion of creativity and honest, true collaboration. Nothing fake, nothing staged. This was the real deal. And now it’s time for some name-dropping. Incredibly talented musicians performed on the night including: Pat Mahoney, Seiji, Dharni, Hamdan Al Abri, The Narcicyst, Zahed Sultan, Goochy, Megadon Betamax and James Locksmith. With such amazing talent performing, it’s no wonder the crowd was buzzing all night long. Artists from 11 different countries created pieces throughout the night, including work from Sheryo – named one of the Top 10 Street Artists to Watch 2013 by Complex Art+Design, as well as collaborations from A.N. Unaran, Paul Bruwer working with Enforce One (Gary Yong) from New Zealand, Darwin Gueverra partnered with A.N. Unaran (Mongolia), Sasan Saidi teamed with Australia’s Nick Ford, while the Philippines Konan Lim paired with Batbayar Purew (Mongolia). A photography competition also took place under the theme for the event – “streets”. Photographs were provided by UAE-based photographer Jalal Abuthina and artists overlaid their designs on these street shots of Dubai. The final work was judged by a panel of creative professionals including: Campaign editor Iain Akerman, KULT’s Steve Lawler, and our very own Gyula Deak – founder of quint design studio and Creative Director of quint magazine. Joint-winners included Ross Davies and Rob Perryman, and runnerup Kristy Anne Ligones. The winning works from these three talented artists was showcased at the event, and the two jointwinners also received prizes from Tiger.
ROB PERRYMAN JOINT WINNER
ROSS DAVIES JOINT WINNER
Huge props also go out to Fathima Mohiuddin, founder of The Domino, who was the art curator for the event. And the best news of all? The art isn’t going down! Media One Hotel has decided to leave the artwork up for the public to enjoy. All in all, this is a tough one to beat. In the mean time, the question on everyone’s minds is: When’s the next one?
KRISTY ANNE LIGONES RUNNER-UP
SHERYO (29, SINGAPORE) Sheryo is a Brooklyn based artist from Singapore who paints imperfect gnarly characters that are calming to disoriented souls, and might cause skitter skatter explosions in the brain. She has exhibited and painted in NY, Atlanta, LA, Belgium, Seoul, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia. She has been commissioned to work for clients such as Adidas Originals, MTV Asia, Intel, Converse, Nike, GAP, and Tiger Beer. Colour: www.sheryoart.tumblr.com B&W: www.sheryo.tumblr.com
ENFORCE ONE AKA GARY YOUNG (36, MALAYSIA) Enforce One is a street artist hailing from New Zealand and is heavily influenced by his artistic background â€œMy dad first and foremost. He was a watercolour/calligraphy artist back in the day. I was lucky enough to grow up in a creative environment. Even though I have a very distinctive style to my work, I am also very open minded about influences. I get inspired from people around me, all the local artists and people I work with. I draw inspirations from music, movies, and writings. International artists I look up to at the moment are David Choe, James Jeans, and Max Gimblett.â€? His works can be viewed at http://cutcollective.co.nz/ and http://branch.co.nz/.
BATBAYAR PUREW (23, MONGOLIA) Batbayar studied from 1998-2008 at UB city school then furthered his studies at Mongolian Fine Art Institute graduating 2012 His Exhibitions include 2011-2012 Grand art, 2011-2012 Spring /UMA art gallery/ Ulanbator, 2012 Golden brush /UMA art gallery/ Ulaanbaatar, 2012 Tiger Translate, Ulaanbaatar. Awards include the Golden brush in 2012.
A.N. UNARAN (26, MONGOLIA) According to the scientific work of psychologist Sigmund Freud’s comparison of the sharp mind and dreams, her art endeavour is to explore Mongolian ideals about dreams and dream scientific theory, and their connection. Scientifically, dreams are understood at a physical activity level. However, for Mongolians, dreams are contemplated at a spiritual and mind level. Through her artwork, A.N. Unaran attempts to reveal the special character of dreams as the inner world of the human being. In her opinion, the concept of the inner world is human nature itself. Moreover, dreams are signs and signals from the inner world. Thus, this hidden inner world is the inner human self.
NICK FORD (38, AUSTRALIA) Nick grew up on the beaches, just south of Sydney, Australia, so was heavily influenced by the surf/skate culture that surrounded them. Over the years he found his own style in detailed black and white pen drawings using the stipple technique. These days Nick takes his scrawls and scribbles to the scanner and produces his final pieces through Illustrator and Photoshop. Eclectic, leftfield, and sometimes just plain strange creatures and landscapes make up most his works. These can be found on t-shirts, album covers, posters and the like. With a background in Graphic Design and being comfortable with most mediums “The Moose” is always looking for something new and is always up for a challenge.
PAUL BRUWER (27, SOUTH AFRICA) From beautifully rich charcoal portraits of desert travellers, functional depictions of tech from the future in concept art, to intricate and fresh urban art, Bruwer works in a range of media and techniques from the traditional to using the latest design software and technology. Bruwer creates commercial works for brands as well as exhibiting his personal work, and is by day a designer with the Dubai and London based creative agency Robot & Spark.
FATHIMA MOHIUDDIN (29, CANADA) Dubai-born artist Fathima Mohiuddin has spent the last 10 years living and working in Toronto, London, and Dubai. With a BA in Art & Culture from the University of Toronto and an MA in Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London, Fathima’s artwork deals with notions of subjectivity, identity, the subconscious, belonging and the standardization of society. She also explores through her curatorial and creative work the role of the artist in society, and the relationship between the artist and their creations. Her work with youth, emerging artists, community outreach programming and public art creates platforms for creative interaction in and outside the gallery space. Fathima has exhibited her work in nearly 15 exhibitions in the UAE in the last 3 years, the most recent being at the Sharjah Art Museum. Her distinguishable style of markmaking has lent itself to large-scale drawing, painting, mural work, graffiti, installation, photography, stop-motion animation, body art, live art, and many collaborations. In 2010 she won the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award, worked on an illustrated music video introduced at the Gulf Film Festival, and was selected for the Cultural Leadership International programme carried out by the British Council. In 2011 she was nominated for the Emirates Woman of the Year Award and most recently has set up the artist run entity ‘The Domino’.
DARWIN GUEVARRA (34, PHILIPPINES) Apart from his illustrations and paintings, Multimedia artist Darwin Guevarra is known for his sculptural work made up of scrap and found objects.
SASAN SAIDI (36, GERMANY) Sasan studied Visual Communication and Fine Art in Belfast, Northern Ireland and gained his degree in 2002. Soon after graduation, he was employed by the Department of Environment to produce illustrations of insects for biology schoolbooks. This founded his passion for detailed pencil and ink drawings using traditional cross hatching techniques. He has illustrated for numerous advertising agencies and publishers in the UK, UAE, and South Africa such as TBWA, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, and Team Y&R to name a few. Apart from illustrating, he is also involved in graphic design, branding, tattooing, photography, and mural art. Sasan has recently been working on a series of illustrations for a publication on Tantric Physics by Craig Willers, an author and Gnostic Priest from Austin, Texas. The collaboration and discussions between the two has had a great influence on his work, not only conceptually but also stylistically.
KONAN LIM (30, PHILIPPINES) Architect by day, Konan is a painter with a surreal and whimsical style of colourful work made up of dark and humorous subjects. Referring to mystical and childlike images, he works primarily with acrylic on canvas and more recently collaboratively.
BU R ESZTER LAKI GRAPHIC DESIGNER
In 2012 we set our feet on the land of Asia for the second time. After our trips to Cambodia and Laos, this time around our chosen destination was Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
The country has only recently started to open up towards tourism, so we had the chance to observe life in its original, uninterrupted form in Yangon, Mandalay, Hpa Anba, and the other towns and villages.
Our main interest was gastronomy and the markets. We ate a lot, took a lot of pictures, and were sketching in many different restaurants and tea houses as we observed the world of street vendors and bakeries. It doesnâ€™t require a lot to open a restaurant in Burma. All you need is a metal plate with fire underneath it and a few small plastic chairs around it. Every time a bus stops, it is immediately surrounded by screaming vendors who are trying to sell all kinds of fresh fruits and snacks to the passengers. We followed the path of Chili from beginning to end. From the glowing red chili fields through the markets to the food. We tried the Burma tea, which is flavored with condensed milk and served with sweet soy-filled donuts for breakfast. We also had noodle soup every day. They make it with all kinds of noodles (thin, thick, different dough) and with all sorts of toppings from coriander, tofu, and peanuts to mountains of chili. Through the observation of their gastronomy and eating habits, we hope to get closer to the everyday life of the people of Burma.
BY PHOTOGRAPHER HAL Tokyo-based Photographer Hal’s series Flesh Love immediately grabs your attention. It’s bright, bold, bizarre, and, when you take a closer look, a true expression of love and closeness. He finds his subjects in dive bars of Tokyo, approaching couples with a direct proposition - to photograph them in a vacuum sealed package on his kitchen floor. “I go to Kabukicho in Shinjuku, underground bars in Shibuya and many other places which are full of activity like luscious night time bee-hives. When I see a couple of interest I will begin to negotiate. I’m sure that many people initially think of my proposal as unusual or even look through me like I am completely invisible, but I always push forward with my challenge to them. The models appear from all walks of life and individually have included musicians, dancers, strippers, laborers, restaurant and bar managers, photographers, businessmen and women, unsettled and unemployed, et al. As a couple, I have photographed a wide variety of variables which include being young and old, from the same or opposite sex, of different race, having different styles, girls from the north and men from the south and many others who have been willing to participate.” Hal’s observations of his subjects gave great insight into relationships, the dynamic between the couples, and the differences in the way men and women reacted. Men often panic, and worry that they will suffocate, while women hold their pose and are only concerned with looking good in the photograph. But ultimately, Hal’s main statement is to spread love. “Those in power are continually guilty of segregation and discrimination, can we realize peace under such conditions? You who are standing on the earth, no matter where you are, love the person in front of you. From two people to a group, a town to a community, a city to a country, from border to border, the ring of love shall prevail. I have started to create my ring of love in the city of Tokyo, believing that some day a world peace without segregation and discrimination will come true.” For more of Hal’s work check out: www.photographerhal.com The iPad application Flesh Love from Hibiku Inc. on iTunes Photo Book Flesh Love: tosei-sha.jp And visit the quint magazine blog for a Q&A with Hal: quintmagazine.tumblr.com
PHOTO: GREG ADAMSKI CONCEPT: BORN TO CREATE JAGA HUPALO HAIRPROJECT&STYLIST: JAGA HUPALO HAIR: JAGA HUPALO & CREATE TEAM SITE SPECIFIC DESIGN: DAVID ZALESKY MAKEUP: ROZIE ABDULLAH RETOUCH: LUKAS STROCIAK RETOUCHING PRODUCTION: KAZIMIERZ SCHMIDT MODELS: ROZIE, TANIA, WYNEE
photography by Iga Drobisz www.igaphotography.com model: Hilda Lee dress: Ownmuse
photography by Iga Drobisz www.igaphotography.com model: Maha Sulaiman special thanks to Danny Savage and Lidia Grabarek
Galliano: Conscience or Conscious? 96
PHOTO SOURCE: GOCITYGIRL.COM
BY LAURA NUNN
For Christmas I was given a rather beautiful bag to replace a gnarly old one I had been using for work. A beautiful Galliano bag, one that really can’t go unnoticed but, to be honest, it got me thinking. I really am a fashion enthusiast and I pride myself on a modest amount of knowledge of haute couture designers, I read a lot about the industry and most of my time on the internet is split between fashion and music. For those of you who aren’t aware of who John Galliano is, he was a hugely successful and applauded Creative Director and designer at Dior for some 15 years until a ‘furore’ last year when he was accused of and arrested for his anti-Jew/ anti-Asian rant at a woman in a Parisian bar. It kind of shocked the fashion industry; it certainly caught the attention of his employers and his peers as he was immediately struck off as CD for Dior. At the time, he claimed to have been very drunk and his (very well documented) verbal abuse was indeed completely ‘out of character’ for the 52 year old designer. But he admitted that the whole thing was actual fact. It has also been said that it was all a conspiracy from the heads at Dior at the beginning of Fashion week and that John himself was set-up because management simply wanted him out. Since then though, he has carried on his own small label collection (largely available in Europe and the Middle East) and has kept his braided-head firmly in the sand. I’d like to think that as readers and writers of this magazine, we’re open minded enough to be able to have this conversation without thinking anything negative – we are all artists really! So stay with me here. The thinking I refer to above that this gift incited relates to another set of discriminatory statements by another industry brand: should Karl Lagerfeld’s personal and very public opinions on women like Adele being too fat and Russian men being ugly mean I should throw out my Chanel bag? I feel that a director of a fashion house should not be judged solely on his personal opinions - Galliano got fired for his rant but Lagerfeld was applauded for his direct and honest opinion. I would even say that Chanel only benefitted from the publicity, be it good or bad- If we had a look at the sales figures I’m sure they’d speak for themselves. So is it then only what Galliano was discriminating against that got him into trouble, not the fact that he was discriminating?
Personally, I know that anti-Semitism doesn’t necessarily mean ‘anti-Jew’, there is much more to being Semitic than being Jewish, and the term is widely misused and misunderstood: Semitic is of a certain strain of Middle Eastern heritage, regardless of religion. I do believe in the freedom of speech and I believe in a person’s right to have a personal life away from the public eye. I do not support abuse and this is where I think that questions could arise, whether I agree with them or not: are there people whose feelings are so strong or so uncomfortable with people like Galliano or Lagerfeld that if I were not so fashion-obsessed then perhaps I might feel strange carrying a 30 cm picture of an accused ‘anti-Semite’ on my shoulder? Or worse get red painted by the politically correct brigade? If I were fat, should I not buy Chanel? Is Galliano the anti-Jew label now, can Jews still buy vintage Dior? Look, what I am really saying is that I think we can all read between the lines: Vogue have had their first ever Asian model grace their cover only this year, but hell, this industry has been around since the loin cloth and sometimes we have to accept things simply as they are. Sometimes people take fashion too seriously: at the end of the day, it’s just stuff – it’s pretty stuff, useful stuff, expensive and incredibly designed stuff, but it is just stuff and, in the end, this is a multi-billion dollar industry and it will continue to be with or without Galliano as the head of Dior and really, sometimes people just say stupid things when they’re drunk.
SHOES FOR THE WILD AT HEART
FROM JOCO COMENDADOR BY WAEL AL FATAYRI If Pokemon were to be shoes, they would look like Joco Comendador’s creations. This young Filipino shoe designer and college student - he’s only 22! - is making waves all over the world with his wild, beautiful, dangerous shoe designs. Inspired by fashion greats like Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin, Noritaka Tatehana, Manolo Blahnik, Jeffrey Campbell, Vivienne Westwood, Joco similarly creates incredible pieces of art that lucky individuals can possess and wear. We had the opportunity to chat with this talented young designer, and delve into his creative process.
When did you launch your first collection? Actually it wasn’t a collection it was for a school project last August 2011. How would you describe the customer of your brand? Edgy. Brave. Crazy. A woman/man who doesn’t give a f***. Do you have any intentions for expansion? What markets would you like to explore? Yes of course, after college. I need to focus more on finishing my college degree now. After that I’ll focus my attention in making this business successful and profitable. Every JC shoe style is different and unique, what is the process of creating a style? I first sketch it inspired by a random thing. I sketch a lot then choose which one to make, possible to make into reality. You seem obsessed with high heels, is there a particular reason?
Yes. It makes someone taller and look sexier plus it’s dangerous to walk with. I love anything that’s dangerous I don’t know why.
your designs in any way? Yeah. Right now I’m into iconic comic and videogame characters.
Where do you produce your shoes? Here in the Philippines. Marikina City to be exact.
Can you walk us through your creative process? I have no creative process. I’m very random. Once something inspires me I decide that’ll be my next shoe design inspired this or that.
How long does it take you to produce one pair? It takes me 1 week. But if the materials are not available here, I need to order some from China and all in all it takes me about 4-5 weeks. What challenges do you face in the production process and how do you overcome them? Availability of raw materials! It’s eating a lot of time to produce shoes. Are you influenced by other art forms or do you dabble in any other forms of art? Yes. Clothes and caps and eyewear that I make myself. Do these other forms of art influence or inspire
What do you hope to communicate through your designs? Myself. My crazy design aesthetic. What does the future have in store for JC shoes? A fashion house soon or an empire. But I need to finish college first. Find out more about Joco and follow his rise in the fashion world:
facebook.com/jocoshoes jococomendador.tumblr.com twitter.com/jococomendador
DON’T WORRY, IT’LL BE GONE SOON BY ROSS GARDINER
Illustration by: Gonzalo Bustamante D.
In the last few months, journalists, music writers and bloggers have been frantically pushing the idea that the Korean Pop music wave has made the long journey across the ocean and is on our beaches, ready to invade and conquer. The internet is awash with writings of the next big acts that are sure to follow in the footsteps of PSY, the slightly chunky, imaginary horse-riding singer behind the internet supermeme “Gangnam Style”. While the likelihood is that online editors are just desperate to capitalize on the keywords associated with PSY and are instructing their writers to write anything they can about the genre, there is no doubt that the American public’s interest in the Hanryu wave (Korean Culture Wave) has been peaked. But what is K-Pop? And can we expect to see more typical Korean music acts capitalize on this current trend? ‘K-Pop’ has been around for about twenty years. Starting with the iconic dance group Seo Taijin & Boys, the rap, hip-hop and dance fusion was considered a symbol of sorts for a new Republic of Korea. The nation’s popular music started veering towards beat-driven, electronic sounds and represented a shift away from a traditional style that had its roots in folk music. These sounds were something entirely different that would define the new generation of Koreans growing up free from the hardships endured by almost every generation that preceded it. It was liberating music. Over the two decades that followed the K-Pop industry developed into a pillar of the country’s economy, worth over $3 billion a year to the national GDP, and a huge source of national pride and international identity. But with that surge in popularity and rapid rate of growth came an insatiable thirst for new music, and artist management companies sought to bring the ethos of the factory to the creative process. SM Entertainment (Girl’s Generation, Super Junior), YG Entertainment (Big Bang, PSY) and JYP Entertainment (Rain, Wondergirls), known in Korea as the ‘Big Three’, started scouting for children between ten and twelve years old that sparkled with promise. The children would then be plucked from their regular world and taught to sing and dance in intense after-school programs until they were ready for the stage. This practice of farming identical pop ‘idols’ has been widely condemned within the Korean media, with many people highlighting the often-neglected ethical requirements of entertainment companies. The music itself is renowned for its catchiness. Slapping heavily programmed drum tracks under those buzz-saw melodies, Electro House and US RnB seems to have been the primary points of influence for this current crop of artists. Ten years ago the charts were awash with weeping piano ballads sung by dangerously handsome men in their late-twenties, and blaring Mariah Careyesque karaoke classics that tested the the lung power of the nation. These days the tracks throb with thick bass hooks and pulse with clenched kick drums, and are designed to be listened to on in-ear headphones or on a House club’s speaker system. Their choruses are catchier than influenza and are sung by airbrushed young nymphets treading the stereotypically Far Eastern line that loosely divides cute and sexy. Critics of the genre however have been very quick to point out its stark similarities to western pop
music, and the lacking of any sort of tangible personality, or any distinctly Korean elements beyond the language in which the songs are sung (and most of the choruses are in English nowadays). A lot of the hooks induce a crisp sense of deja vu, and several of the high-profile K-Pop artists have been put on the chopping block and forced to awkwardly explain their extremely liberal interpretations of plagiarism and intellectual copyright law. * For further reading on the depths of K-Pop’s problems with plagiarism investigate Lee Hyori’s scandalous case with fraudulent Canadian rock obsessed songwriter Bahnus. The current technological climate has also played a massive role in sculpting the K-Pop’s impeccable image. Streaming YouTube videos has put an even stronger emphasis on aesthetic and the typical K-Pop idol must be young and beautiful. They should be tall, slim and have ‘Western’ features (wider eyes, slimmer jaw lines, bridged nose). Many of the stars are also expected to drop their personalities in favor of generic two-dimensional characters (“I’m Ji-Yun and I’m the cute one!”) assigned to them by their management companies. They must be willing to rehearse for long periods without breaks and produce music and performances from within the straitjackets of a K-Pop recording contract, commonly referred to as ‘Slave Contracts’. The K-Pop idol follows an extremely worn and remarkably reliable path to success. Enter PSY. The hugely successful veteran K-Pop artist, famed for his bizarre dance routines and a chorus that sends tremors through your skull like a dentist drill, is the only Korean music artist that could genuinely be considered a household name internationally. Yet as many gushing K-Pop fans have pointed out, he is the antithesis of Hanryu. Aging, chubbing, laughing, flailing, he fits none of the rigorously enforced traits of the K-Pop star. But he is a massive success internationally, and the chances are that you’ve never heard of any of the nation’s more typical outputs that have had hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions (SM Entertainment spent almost $3 million dollars sourcing and developing one of the singers in supergroup Girl’s Generation), of dollars invested in them. PSY was successful because he smashed that mold. Granted it was a mold that many in the
West didn’t know existed, but to anyone that knew anything at all about K-Pop, it was obvious that he was different. His hit single ‘Gangnam Style’ is about the lavish and vain lifestyles of the people in the wealthy district of Gangnam, and specifically Apgujeong, in central Seoul. It takes aim at the area’s obsession with superficial value, and within that is a dig at the K-Pop culture. So has it accidentally transpired that we in the West have been given the satirical backlash directed at Hanryu before we even really knew what it was? And given that the lyrics were almost entirely in Korean, did we just like it because of the hilarious image of a slightly rotund Asian man pretending to ride a horse? Since PSY’s burst onto the scene there have been hundreds of blog posts educating the western audience on the intricacies of K-Pop, as well as warning us with a megaphone on the shore that the Korean wave is coming. But personally, I don’t see it. K-Pop has no staying power. In an age defined by manufactured products that are built to break, the acts are adored for their youth, innocence, and relative naivety, all of which are fast expiring commodities in the music business. And once those traits are gone, the group is gone, replaced by another identical group of beautiful, bland young prodigies. And while the focus of this article has been predominantly on the actions of the performer, the audience must too be strongly considered. The American consumer is beside himself when treated to a novelty single from a foreign act every now and again. “The Macarena” by Los Del Rio was a great time, and he loved the Cuban groove of German lothario Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5”. But these acts were unable to match the heights of the singles that made them famous. It has been universally accepted that PSY will join this group of one hit wonders, albeit with the highly sought after yet unofficial title of “King of YouTube” to his name. But many predict a similarly short, yet agonizingly less novel experience for the K-Pop acts attempting to capitalize on the curiosity that the chubby jockey with the imaginary horse spiked across the world. The problems in the game plan are numerous, but the biggest problem of all is that aside from being Korean, these acts bring nothing to the table that we don’t already have.
Gaining momentum, the Far East underground music scene is growing in every direction. The types of music being created are widespread, gigs are plentiful and recording is hot. If you’re looking to go on tour this is the region to go to, as the networking is strong, and the scene is well received. Demand is on fire, but for the ones who live there, the competition can run high too. We got the low down from musicians, writers and producers on what they think the Far East underground scene is like and how to tap into it. The Far East scene is vast, with big supply and big demand. It has a huge variety of music types, but the big ones are fusion, rock, and metal. Also on the rise are punk, reggae, experimental, and alternative styles. Influences mostly come from western music as well as surrounding areas, and the general consensus is that these styles of music are very well received judging from the tendency of crowds to go nuts at concerts, and the eagerness of audiences to hear new music. The enthusiasm of the scene is such that foreign underground bands bring in bigger audiences, and gigs will be created just to incorporate them. The underground music scene in the Far East is considerably big, and competition can run high between local bands to book the best gigs and to gain attention. The best way to crack the underground scene is by opening up for the biggies. But the next best thing is playing at music festivals, which, depending on the size, also receive foreign audiences and media attention. Commonly, like most underground scenes, making a living off of music can be hard, but it can be done. Competition arises between local bands to play in bars and restaurants. When going on tour through Asia the expenses will out run the revenue. Selling tickets can always help off set costs, but a great selling point is band merchandise, like t-shirts and CDs. Promoting isn’t always easy, but also on the rise is the invaluable use of the internet. Facebook and Youtube are every bands’ best friend and getting a word into blogs and magazines is always beneficial. For instance, the talk of Malaysia is that ‘you know you’ve made it in the punk rock scene when you make it into the pages of the local zine Shock&Awe.’ These mediums are creating tightly nit networks in the music scenes between countries, especially in the South East. As the music scene is so widespread, the easiest way to book a tour through Asia is just by networking.
The ‘do it yourself’ attitude is on the rise, and in the Far East it is continuously getting easier to do just that. The ever growing music community and the development in technology have helped this happen. Independent labels are plentiful and easy to establish, big studios are easy to find, and there are also many home studio alternatives. Printing is becoming cheaper and with digital copies being so easy to produce, less CDs need to be created. Perhaps the most beneficial change in the DIY scene are the distribution options. Many indie labels are growing into big businesses so music is now reaching more audiences in farther places. Television and radio shows for amateurs are also quite commonly available in Asia, and some indie labels will even help musicians out with getting spots. The options available to the underground scenes depend on the city and country, as well as the connections at hand – however, the possibilities with DIY are endless. The Far East is culturally rich and lifestyles are vastly different from region to region, and the music scenes are consequently a refection of their surroundings. Singapore for instance is similar to Dubai. The city is wealthy and full of expats. The music scene is generally smaller, and just like Dubai, permits may be needed to perform. Korea is quite industrialized with a short history of underground music. The audiences tend to be static until they become fans, in which case they’re apparently extremely passionate (to the point of skinny dipping in large numbers). Whereas in the Philippines, the underground scene has been around a long time; it is quite established, lax, and committed. In China and Taiwan the scene is growing fast and is being nurtured to new heights. For example, in Taiwan “live-house” venues, which are specially set up for amateur bands, are plentiful. Some countries have a longer underground history than others, but generally the underground is quite similar
around the globe and constantly developing. What is quite unique to parts of Asia though is the current changing state of affairs, which consequently affects the music scene. Coping with changing times of economic and political developments has left some people expressing themselves through the use of music. South East Asia is seeing a rise in true punk spirit, which is especially true in Indonesia. In Jakarta many kids can be seen playing the ukulele on the streets. This is thanks to the punk band Marjinal who have set up an activist project to teach children how to play music. Music isn’t illegal but many venues have been shut down due to noisy and loud music which opposes the common culture of the country. Small venues are quite common, and some gigs even occur in recording studios. The scene is still going strong though, and gigs are plentiful. Like true rebels, musicians are continuing to shine through, and the result is a huge variety of music and a lot of quality. Many countries in Asia have struggled with poverty and changing political standings, but not all countries feel the heat of such circumstances. The Far East underground scene is growing rapidly, with a huge community on the rise that is extensively supportive. Anyone looking to tour in the region will definitely have an experience unlike any other, with relatively big audiences compared to those in the UAE and highly energetic crowds. Although many areas are still maturing, the music scenes are growing strong with an outpour of musical expression. Opportunities for gaining recognition are increasing, with possibilities of making it big through effort and a little luck. Widespread and full of spirit, the Far East underground music scene definitely know how to go with the beat of their own drums.
The distinctive sounds of traditional Far Eastern music has deep roots in its culture and stretch back as far as a few thousand years ago. Neighbouring countries have always shared influences, and as people traveled from one country to another, their music came with them. This transposal has recently been occurring with intensity and great speed over the last century due to the massive changes in technology and communications. As a result, the face of popular Asian music is changing drastically towards a more Westernised sound. The cultural music of the Far East sounds exotic and mystical to anyone who is not accustomed to it. This is because of their 5 note scales which encompass completely different intervals between tones. In other words, their standard notes do not sound the same to those accustomed to Western harmonies. The beauty of cultural Asian music lies in its complicated simplicity. Remember the old black and white phones with their one sound at a time ringtones? Traditional Eastern music is quite largely the same: monophonic and melodic. And just as most classical music uses high singing, so does the older music of Asia. Many musicians still train in the art of playing traditional instruments, and are also taught their native way of musical notation. This is especially common in China. Traditional Far Eastern music is deeply rooted in their respective cultures and can be found today in ceremonies, religious practices, and classical performances. A big trend is remaking traditional songs with more modern vibes. But rolling with the times, traditional music is just that, traditional. Music has always been exchanged by neighbours and strangers alike, but with the great Western influences in the last century, Asian music has evolved. It began with trade routes where elements of music were being shared. But greater influences came when outsiders invaded, and many of these conquerors didn’t pull out of Asian countries until the first half of the 20th century, and some even later. For example, the Philippines’ pop culture has been greatly influenced by the Spanish, just as Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong have been influenced by the British, and Korea, Mongolia, and Thailand have also gained artistic impressions from Japan. These influences brought new ideas to pop cultures and music began emerging in mixed forms of blending the old and the new. The World Wars brought Western troops to Asia who brought their swinging new tunes and pleasing sounds with them. Music was adapting in the Far East, and with the wide distribution of vinyl and television,
there came huge changes. Music was feverishly changing throughout the West, and when Western celebrities started hitting Asia big in the 1990s, there was no looking back. The great shift of Westernised music in Far East Asia has brought about new waves of sound, a mix of modern mainstream but with definite Asian flavor. The music sounds Western, but lyrics vary in languages and the performers’ styles range from wink-ie cute to sophisticated, quirky like Gaga to flashy badass. The popular music in the Far East includes Western tunes but it mostly comes from around the region. Popular genres include rock and hip hop, but favourite genres of the region include electro-pop, RnB, and soft love songs. The most famous type is a mix of all of the above - think 90s pop meets lively beats and modern dance music. The main differences between Asian and Western artists is that many Asian artists are trained and groomed for the entertainment industry. The Suzuki method of learning to play an instrument originates from Japan and can be found throughout Asia. Children start learning to play an instrument at a very young age, sometimes before they can even read. This usually leads to having advanced skills if the student continues. Learning many languages is also common and used to break into other music markets. In the Far East, styling is sometimes more about image than identity, and dancing is one of the biggest selling tickets in the Asian market. But perhaps the biggest difference is that Idol bands consist of a high number of people, with groups of ten plus not being uncommon. J-Pop from Japan, and K-Pop from Korea are the most prominent types of music in the region, and have been dominating the Far East for some time. K-pop is also highly popular in Japan, which has the second biggest music industry in the world after the U.S. Japan has some of the highest sales
in physical formats according to the Recording Industry Association of Japan, and a 22% global share in 2011 according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Recently K-Pop has also started to make its claim to fame in the West, the most famous of which is Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Other groups who are making headlines include Big Bang, The Wonder Girls who have collaborated with Akon, and 2NE1 who have teamed up with Will.i.am. Far Eastern music elements can be heard today in some mainstream songs, mainly in Asian music, but also throughout the West. Many classic rockers used traditional Asian instruments in some of their songs, including The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Queen. But perhaps the most well known of bands who incorporated traditional Asian flavours into their music were the Beatles, who have arguably inspired others to do so as well. For instance John McLaughin, a big fan of the Beatles, formed an Indian classical band - Shakti. Another trend that is occurring thanks to Youtube is the remodelling of Western songs in an Asian fashion. Like the Youtube hit “Lateralus” by Tool performed by Radialaxis with the Japanese Koto. In this age of communication, music is quickly becoming more of a global phenomenon. Foreign music is easily accessible and occasionally hits music charts around the world. Far Eastern mainstream music is slowly gaining recognition globally. Considering many Asian artists are triple threats with many language options, and with great connections in the West, the Western world will probably be hearing a lot more of Asian artists. But whether or not more Asian artists can hit Western charts and stay there is yet to be clear, especially considering the differences in pop culture. One thing is for certain though, music from around the world is easily accessible and the gap between popular music styles around the world is shrinking fast.
KOI NO YOKAN: DEFTONES ALBUM REVIEW by Trevor Bundus
Webster’s dictionary describes Koi No Yokan… wait, wait. What? Everything Japanese gets lost in translation somewhere or somehow. It’s like the Eastern outlook on life is somehow mystically untranslatable into an equivalent Western idea. However, with the sheer power of the internet, I managed to get a beautiful explanation of this Japanese phrase. And while listening to this album for this review, the meaning opened up directly upon me. In essence, Koi No Yokan is the feeling you might get that you will undoubtedly fall in love with this new found stranger. Don’t be confused that this is the same as the Western idea of love at first site, because there is no implication that the love will happen immediately, just that it is somehow cosmic and unavoidable. I much rather prefer the Japanese version to the Western version, as the Western version seems a little far-fetched, at first sight.. pft! This idea sets the perfect backdrop for this new Deftones album.
bands that seem to get better with every album they produce. These dudes are certainly rock grandfathers in their own right, and to be making music of this level, at this stage, is certainly no small feat.
So how does that fit with our friends the Deftones? Well the sense you get when you open up this album is something like Koi No Yokan, you know you’re gonna love this album. The Deftones are one of the only
The album is a romantic take, matched to the often hard driving sounds of the Deftones. The album hits home right from the beginning. It’s a return to the White Pony days of the Deftones, where
Falling in love with music is like meeting someone for the first time, and having that sense of fatalistic excitement is nothing short of cosmic. It’s hard to actually describe that feeling you get when you just click with someone, or when you have a great first impression of an album. Many people, describe it as a cosmic alignment of the souls or that the stars were aligned, that there was something in the air, a type of aggressive passion waiting to be unleashed into a physical form of movement. This album certainly paints a picture for this moment in life that everyone yearns to experience. The lyrics are utterly cosmic, and all focus around the playful nature of the meeting of two strangers: the kind of hidden chemistry that attracts two people to each other.
hammering guitar riffs meet psychedelic Chino Moreno vox. At times you feel as though you could be driving through the city late at night, full of energy shifting gears to this soundtrack. All the while, thinking about all the events yet to happen in the future relationship. All of the promises made, the hopes and the dreams of what might be, and the hypnotizing feeling of love as the energy and backbone of the relationship. This is more than just a straightforward Deftones album. This is the quintessential soundtrack to the fate you are about to receive. I would most certainly have a listen to this album with the Japanese idea of Koi No Yokan in your head. Expect an avalanche of memories of first love. Memories of pure bliss and happiness, long lost love, and the perfect moment where it felt like only two people inhabited your world. It will bring a surge of emotion, bringing back the feeling of a night that should never end, and a day where the sun shines a little softer and brighter upon the smiling faces of two people who know they are in love before they even realize it. This is a soundtrack to your romantic life.
이랑 (Lang Lee) - 욘욘슨 Casker - 1103 Heart Shake - Turtles Swim Surprisingly Fast 이랑 (Lang Lee) - 잘 알지도 못하면서 Neon Bunny - Oh My Prince Glen Check - French Battalion THE KOXX - Love Dance 3rd Line Butterfly - Storehouse Synthesis
HISTORICAL SCIENCE SPECULATIVE FICTION FARES BOU NASSIF
Science fiction is possibly one of the most confusing genres out there. Future fiction might be a better term, although future fiction is, in a sense, a sub-division of sci-fi. Most people assume that sci-fi automatically relates to Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or some other manifestation thereof. Cloud Atlas, the hugely successful film based on the novel of the same name, is sci-fi – future fiction, but fiction nonetheless.
HERE’S WHERE YOU DRAW THE LINE: IF IT RELATES TO A SCIENTIFIC, OR AS YET SCIENTIFICALLY AMBIGUOUS, DISTORTION OF THE REALITY WE LIVE IN NOW OR HAVE (AS A RACE) LIVED IN BEFORE, THEN IT IS A VARIANT OF SCIENCE FICTION: IT IS FICTION THAT USES SCIENCE AS A PRIMARY MODIFIER.
Here’s where you draw the line: if it relates to a scientific, or as yet scientifically ambiguous, distortion of the reality we live in now or have (as a race) lived in before, then it is a variant of science fiction: it is fiction that uses science as a primary modifier. So, for example, while Thor is a story of fantasy in many ways, Ironman is not, not exactly anyway: Thor is a mythological creature that has been reimagined and adapted for the S.H.I.E.L.D stories and The Avengers model; Ironman is a hi-tech suit of armour worn by a man, that draws its energy from a power generator transplanted into Tony Stark’s body due to a physical injury that necessitated it. While the Tony Stark story is highly unlikely and extremely far-fetched, it is not impossible or mystical. It is science. Thor, on the other hand: mystical and verging on the impossible (unless you believe in the Norse gods and what have you).
I’m rambling. It’s because, for the first time in almost two years, I’m embarking on another attempt to write a novel. The first one was successful, but I rejected it just before it could have been a real book. This time, I’m trying a different path. A change of voice and tone, a redefinition of my fictional style. And, in a sense, I’m trying to rationalise and explain what it is that drives this idea, trying to convince myself that it’s okay for me to write science fiction. Because, although some of my literary idols are the greatest of fantasy novelists (George R.R. Martin, J.R.R Tolkien, Neal Stephenson, David Mitchell, I could go on but I won’t), I had spent the last few years considering the writing of the future or the fantastical other realms a sort of ‘less serious’ exploration of my creative capacities.
The preamble above is predicated on one key notion: the statements I have made in the past that I would not write science fiction. Now I can see the difference between ‘impossible’ sci-fi and ‘alternate reality’ sci-fi, or at least want to pretend there is a difference.
Now I see things differently: allowing oneself to explore the alternate universes of one’s creative consciousness brings about an almost revolutionary freedom of expression. I am no longer limiting myself to the world I know and recognise, no longer constrained by the realities of our present. I can let the emotions and actions, desires, impulses of my characters thrive while I create a world around them that helps them live up to who they are – or disrupts their plans, whatever makes more sense.
Historical fiction, which is basically history re-applied or even re-written to the benefits and needs of the novelist, is ‘certified’ as not sci-fi, but the model falls perfectly in line with my idea of science fiction that is possible, despite being unlikely. Wikipedia defines some of the work by H.G. Wells as ‘speculative fiction’. That’s a genre now? Then maybe we can define the form of type of book I’m referring to as historical (and then) speculative fiction.
I guess the question that got this piece started was whether or not science fiction can be taken seriously by those of us who claim to be uninterested in science fiction. What I’ve come to by the end of it is a different question that makes the original one irrelevant: what are the key elements of storytelling that make a story engaging and forces its audience to take it seriously is what I should be looking into. And I already have that answer.
Creating an alternate reality based on possible scenarios regarding the evolution of our world
illustration by: AGAN HARAHAP
and our technological advancement based on somewhat realistic but otherwise not so plausible expectations of the human race, using events in our (collective) past to fill in the gaps by introducing fictional characters into our natural history who ultimately ‘modify’ our current reality for the needs of the story being told.
s I stood in the foyer of the Yongsan wedding convention center in central Seoul, I found myself feeling slightly nauseous. The old raspy speakers in each corner of the room covered us with a version of ‘The Wedding March’ played by a tiny man with a harpsichord inside a coke can. The large room, polished until it twinkled with a Colgate sparkle, shone under faux-silver faux-chandeliers. Hundreds of people mulling around me, all radiated slightly by the neon blue strip lighting that framed the ceiling. The dress code of the room completely lacked any sort of affirmation. I saw women in hanboks, cocktail dresses, and jeans. Men in tuxedos, suits, and sweats. The guests showcased a complete spectrum of clothing deemed acceptable to leave the house in. Wedding assistants with smiles big enough to burst their lips whizzed around the floor, like cartoon robot housemaids from the 50s. I spotted the man I presumed to be the groom standing by the door, bowing himself into right angles to all of the guests as they filed into the ‘church’. Inside a bizarre arctic white lilied photo pod sat the bride, frozen in the angelic cold light of flash bulbs that fawned over her, never letting that painfully perfect pose thaw out. The number of the wedding that I was to attend had appeared on the flatscreen TV. People started moving towards the groom, smiling and pointing at the bride as they passed. In that moment it looked like her big day had been based on a seven year old’s crayon blueprints of her wedding to a prince. Hundreds of chairs were quickly filled, and I took my place at the back. I’d tried to stand inconspicuously at the back, but an older lady, in noticing that I was white, treated me like the token foreigner I felt like and brought me to a seat close to the front, displacing a second cousin or family friend that was clearly more relevant than me. The ceremony itself lasted about fifteen minutes. To the chiming of incoming text messages, the couple had just enough time to walk down the aisle, recite their vows, then cry, dry, kiss, and leave. I avoided the suspicious glances from everyone around me, and kept focused on trying to decipher why the bride and groom seemed to be supporting characters to their eerily stoic parents. The bride and groom’s fathers sat on faux-gold thrones, center stage, in the shiniest suits I’d ever seen in. The fathers embraced one another like heads of state for two allied nations working towards a free-trade agreement. As the ceremony ended the couple walked past us down the aisle. People quickly started following them out the ‘church’ and towards the buffet room next door, to enjoy the lone solace wrangled from an otherwise weird, cringe-worthy experience.
* The Wedding Convention Center marriage is one of the most popular forms of matrimonial arrangement among young Korean couples nowadays. The self-contained wedding factories cater to their every need, pouring the couple’s money into their partially customizable wedding mold, giving them precisely what they need: something fast-paced and pre-prepared, that pleases the parents and doesn’t interfere with their relentless work schedule. All the young lovers need to do is turn up on time, smile a lot and cry a little.
It’s perfect in every single way, every single time. Like a can of Coke. For around 3.3 million won ($2915) a couple can get married in the Yongsan Electronics Mart Wedding Convention Center in Seoul, one floor above the refurbished laptops merchants, and one floor below the iPhone service center. This package includes: • 45 minute hire of the facilities (15 for ceremony + 30 for buffet) • 4 different dresses and one tuxedo • Hair and make-up + ‘tear dabber’ (upon request) • Cake • Flowers (Plastic, of course) • Photographers • Up to 300 invitations • A modest film crew and production of DVD • A fashion shoot for your “Love Book” * + assistant * The “Love Book” is a purple velvet photo book in which you and your partner pose like toothpaste models in front of a mixture of green-screens and built sets, simulating scenes such as bohemian Parisian streets, Alpine fields of daffodils, and medieval castles. There is also a large number of ‘add-ons’ should you wish to give the ‘happiest day of your life’ a little something ‘special’. For instance, for the bargain price of 200,000 won ($175) you can have the smiling wedding helpers stand on either side of the aisle with neon hula-hoops, lifting them up and down, charming the bride towards the stage. Then, as the groom walks down the aisle, these are swapped for light sabers. But the wedding package cited is by no means normal. It would generally be considered cheap and tacky. And rightly so. But it isn’t that tacky when compared with more expensive, ‘classier’ convention center weddings. The average Korean couple is reported to spend around $13,000 to $15,000 on their wedding, with that figure jumping to $50,000 and up should the couple choose to wed in a plush hotel. President Lee Myung-bak recently called on the wealthy to set an example to the average Korean, calling the 5-star hotel wedding culture “vain and extravagant”. And while he’s right to be critical of frivolous spending during a recession, one worries that his words might be pushing more people into having garish Wedding Convention Center ceremonies.
* The average wedding in the USA is reported to be somewhere in the region of $25,000. All the meticulous planning and stress of the ceremony itself lands in the lap of the couple, their friends and their families. There are exceptions when one employs the services of a wedding planner (costing approximately 5-10% of the total wedding cost) to ensure that the wedding doesn’t end up getting cancelled during the planning stages. In hiring a planner the couple can outsource a lot of that stress to someone more experienced in choosing crystal goblets that chime and string quartets that can play Counting Crows songs. The end result is something that is excessively expensive, yet unique and personal.
But Korea is going through a period of transition, and is struggling to balance its strong tradition with more liberal Western lifestyles. The wedding culture is a perfect representation of how the country has taken aspects of life in the West and tried to readjust them to the needs and requirements of the Far East. The weddings take a skewed vision of the western matrimonial aesthetic, and fuse it with deep-rooted Confucian tradition, to create a deranged hybrid ceremony that does a disservice to both Eastern and Western tradition. Christmas has been given a similarly glittery treatment. While celebrated as the birth of Jesus by the growing middle-class that have adopted Christianity, most Koreans place their interests firmly on the business end of the celebration, giving thanks for the birth of an economic era of lush affluence and the freedoms that has brought. But the fact of the matter is that very often the young brides and grooms in Korea do see what we see when they look at their weddings, but they are succumbing to what is expected of them by their parents and their society, and often at the expense of their own happiness. A friend of mine confessed to me that she didn’t want the wedding that was being forced on her. With only two weeks to go before their big day, their plans of having a low-key, traditional Korean wedding, a beautiful service offered for free in Jongno in central Seoul, was rejected by their parents and the Wedding Convention Center was booked. It had gone from being a low-key, six guest affair to being a four hundred guest celebration with the shake of a head, the painful squeeze of a shoulder, and the swipe of a credit card. And the happiest day of their lives had turned into a day of stress and anxiety. And you can be sure that they were not the only couple that was given a wedding they didn’t want in favor of what is expected of them.
* As I stood in line for the sashimi section of the buffet a projector screen on the wall played a video of what I initially thought was the wedding I just attended. After seeing a few differences played out on screen (there were rose petals scattered down the aisle, and there was a string quartet there had been a pianist) I noticed that we were watching someone else’s wedding. As we sat down to eat the admittedly poor buffet meal that followed the couple’s wedding we watched the wedding that followed projected onto the back wall of the glorified cafeteria. More than anything it was a polite reminder that our couple’s special day was almost over, and that we’d better eat up and go home so that the modern Korean wedding factory could keep producing its happily married couples.
I remember feeling my whole body tighten. The numbness rushed quickly through my foot, through my leg and into my body. I felt myself bite down hard on my teeth and my eyes squeeze shut as my leg disappeared and the space that it left started to tingle. Sooki’s arms tightened around my neck, and his legs wrapped around my waist. I felt the heat from his body keep my skin warm, but just beneath that I was freezing. The air rushed from my chest as I dipped the other foot in. I felt the numbness start to wash away and all that was left was a scorching pain. “I’m scared” he whispered into my ear. I said nothing. I just kissed his arm, with teeth still clenched behind pursed lips. I started to wade forward into the icy black river. I could see the moon shine on the surface in front of us. It shimmered and shook. I pushed my legs through the water slowly. The burning chill crept up and over my bare knees, flooding my pores. I clenched my jaws together and pushed my breath through my teeth. I looked forward. There wasn’t anyone on the other side. I could only see black. Everything around us was black. Except for the moon, and that light blue hue that surrounded it. That’s still my favorite color. I could feel Sooki’s arms tighten around my neck. He pressed his lips into my hair as I kept quietly wading forward. The water splashed up against my thighs and sent cold, electric shocks through me. I jolted with every step, my heart thumping inside my chest as the water swept past me, pulling at my feet on the rocks. I could feel the moon and its warm glow watching us in the sky. I could hear the water and the wind and my legs, dragging through the water. Sooki’s breath warmed my neck in short sharp bursts. He kept me warm the only way he could. As the water crept up and over my chest, my brother tightened up. He dug his fingers into my skin. There was no heat anymore. I could only feel the pressure. My heart started to beat harder under the water. The waves slight splashed at my neck and face, slapping me again and again with that cold chill. My body was drifting away inside me. My feet slid a little on the rocks with every step. They slid back and forth inside my father’s shoes. The water rushed past pulling at my legs and feet as it tried to drag us away and off down the river to be swallowed by the darkness that was all around us. As we moved into the light of the moon on the surface of the river, I heard him whimper in my ear.
“It’s okay little man. We’ll be there soon.” I said quietly, through my teeth, a breath for each word. He kept sobbing quietly. I don’t know if he heard me. The wind and the water carried those words away. I heard something from behind us. It sounded like voices from the riverbank. I couldn’t hear what they said. The meaning was lost in the wind and the water. But I knew who they were. My heart started thumping harder. His fingers dug deeper into my skin. I pushed my legs forward without a sound. I could feel them moving in their joints, sharp and stiff. They felt so heavy and soft. I looked forward. I started to move away from the light of the moon on the water. As my eyes readjusted to the dark I saw a shadow form on the bank on the other side. I saw a little orange light from a cigarette moving up and down. I started moving faster, tip toeing across the wet shiny rocks that barely kept us steady. I stretched my neck as far up as I could. My tendons were like fins attached to my clenched jaw. The chilling water was licking at my cheeks, rubbing at my neck. I kept breathing through my teeth. He was shaking on my back. I couldn’t feel his legs or my arms. But I knew where they were. I held them tight. The water got a little higher. My right leg was being pulled by the current. I clenched my jaw tighter. I could feel those fin tendons in my neck trying to push blood and air and heat through. I felt for the next stone with my toe. There was nothing for my foot to touch. I panicked and closed my eyes as the water splashed into my hair. I felt him clench and sob in silence. I took a quick deep breath, bent my knee until my face was under water, and leapt forward. For a second we floated, suspended in the black water. The current hooked and dragged us a little downstream. I felt my feet land on the rocks as my face dipped back under and Sooki bleated, gripping my neck as tight as he could. My father’s shoes dragged across the rocks and tried desperately to find their footing. I tried not to gasp, instead breathing that air out in bursts through my teeth. “We’re almost there little man. Almost there.” * As we got closer he came into view. I could see his features coming out of the dark, like they were being slowly recalled from a faint memory somewhere. We kept moving towards that little
orange glow that moved up and down. The smoke was getting dragged away in the wind. The voices behind me were still going like whispers in the wind now. My footing was strong but my legs weighed us down, every step dragged. My chest came out of the water. That cold wind rushed against my body. It burned. My bra stuck to me like a cold second skin. I started trembling in the wind. Goosebumps burst from my skin. My heart thumped harder. The hairs on my arms stood on end, blowing like rushes in the breeze. I looked to the man. I could see the shape of his face. I pushed my jaws together and pushed and pulled the air in and out of my cold chest. My stomach came out of the river. He’d been so quiet, but as the wind blasted our wet bodies Sooki started to cry quietly in my ear. His weight came back as he came out of the water. I almost fell forward into the water. But I kept pushing my legs forward. There were only a few more meters until we’d be out of the water and into China. As we took the last steps Sooki slid from my back and the man came into view. In the dark at that moment he reminded me of my uncle that disappeared years ago. He was a short man in an oversized jacket. I started to sob when I saw him open up a blanket for us. I couldn’t feel my skin. I could only feel the aching bones under it. I took a few steps on the dry land. I fell into the blanket. “Do you have what you were told to have?” he asked in broken Korean. I almost didn’t hear him in the wind. I nodded my head as I shook and pointed to the plastic bag that Sooki had dropped onto the cold dry stones on the river bank. I held my brother in my arms and dried him. I tried to warm us as we shook in the cold piercing wind. I pushed my head against his and kissed his hair. The heat from our skin pushed into our bodies, resuscitating our feeling. Our hearts beat together against our chests. I looked back over the black river to where we’d come from. The light from the moon shone on the water, shimmering on the surface. A cloud passed slowly across it, giving it a faint blue lining. I remember wishing we could dry ourselves under that moonlight. I started to think about everything that we’d left behind. The water squelched as bubbles as I curled my toes inside those big shoes. A tear came from my eye and rolled down my cheek. It felt so warm.
To keep the intention pure, she would tell lies Her eyes exposing only the purest form of love. She hid behind her insecurities and let loose upon To transcend the night, she would drink me A time came where her inoculation died I became slowly aware of her affection of pain. My heart broken, torn and pulled along To apprehend the plight, I couldnâ€™t fix me Dawn broke over fields, a strong burning sunlight The effects no longer unto my shame I saw hope in tomorrow, no longer needed to fight To walk proud, she began to affix me To keep the meaning the same, she would tell lies Her eyes exposing the truth in a different weight She stood aside from the pain, lifted up from my plight To append the night, I kill upon thee
Dawn of a new century, H.G. Wells not being around, our obsession with knowing what we don’t know, especially if it concerns knowing what happens next, and Asia. The theme of this issue is primarily Far Eastern (although what almost everyone forgets when they say ‘Asian’ is that the Middle East is still technically a section of Asia), but the theme of this book is anti-Asian in a sense. The giant that is China has been rising for at least two decades (closer to three, actually), but George Friedman insists it doesn’t matter: China will buckle, and it’s no great dragon. He speculates that it will fall under its own weight by the 2030s, while he goes on to discuss several other key events to a certain degree of detail that sound both plausible and incredible: the failed resurrection of Russia, the rise of Japan (why not), Turkey (logical), and Poland (really?) as a side-effect of the second cold war due to American aid to the three pillars, and brings us mid-century to a war between the Coalition (Japan and Turkey) versus the Alliance (USA and Poland, with game-changing British assistance). The 2060s bring about a whole new American golden age, and then we get to the tensions between a growing (read the book) Mexico and the unlikely scenario of a US-Mexican war akin to the original one that happened almost two centuries ago (except this time Mexico has the upper hand). Oh, and something about Brazil rising as a semiglobal power, Turkey maintaining its regional
influence, Poland being mad at the US, and other such fun details. My biggest issue with the book was argued out in the first few pages: it’s too US-centric, and it doesn’t help that the author is the co-founder of Stratfor, an American private intelligence corporation, a non-governmental, independently operated ‘arm’ of the CIA, in a sense. Except, his argument doesn’t quite hold, at least not from 2050 onwards. His reasoning (which, again, I won’t spoil) establishes the genuine likelihood of American (or North American) domination of the world for the coming centuries. But the War of 2050, as he describes it, tears apart American defences and assumes that the US will be able to rebuild while its enemies are none-the-wiser and unprepared for American retaliation. Which does not make sense. At all. In any way. So, his argument falls apart from then on, to a certain degree. But not entirely, really: the whole China, Russia, Japan, Turkey, Poland, Mexico balance makes (mostly) perfect sense. The technological advances, the population spikes (my favourite part of the whole book), the social and economic changes: the whole prediction and geopolitical method is a brilliant way to look at the world we live in, and does actually do well to support many crazy ideas. Worst case scenario, it’s a fun re-imagining of the future, a la H.G. Wells.
The Next Decade
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet
From the Ruins of Empire
How To Be Really Well Informed in Minutes
How To Write
HISTORY IS BORED OF REPEATING ITSELF BY FARES BOU NASSIF
I’ve made a habit of writing articles about books I’ve reviewed in the same issue, although I do try to avoid the seemingly redundant activity. I say seemingly because, to me, a book review should focus on the book specifically, not my own arguments and commentary: it’s not about how I agree or disagree with the writer, but about what the book offers and where its weak points are, according to me. So this issue I talk about Friedman’s The Next 100 Years, and I do recommend it. My issue is with two things: his Americanism and (although, in the review, much less so) his dismissal of China and India’s rising populations. While his defence of his own country is rational, it is a bit biased and forces him to stumble on his own building blocks. Yes, China has failed, economically, when the distribution of wealth is skewed eastwards. Also, the Ottoman Empire was a grand success. Japan has always hated Beijing (or China), but is on good terms with Shanghai, Hong Kong, and the coastal regions – it needs to be, economically. India was never a powerful nation, although vast and rich in resources. The Asian continent, as a whole, is learning a very valuable lesson: tradition and repeating the past is counterproductive. This falls under a completely different theme, the über simple notion that, while history has essentially repeated itself, it no longer does so. Well, not entirely. Societies, worldwide, have persistently lived in a cyclic system, almost stagnant,
with the only true change coming from technological advancement, and this still holds true: we rely on technology to propel us further, and war does even more to encourage improvement. The largest movement in social change to ever occur began with the rise of Americanism post-1945, and has caused a global implosion of thinking patterns: from the 1950s, our collective and aggregate thought processes have been pushed to a whole new degree of self-reliance and disillusionment, putting us at a new frontier, of sorts. The latest event since the rise of consumerism to cement our intentional destruction of the cycles of history has been the economic crisis of the last few years, with Occupy, the Arab Spring, the protests in Tibet and Spain, and the people’s enragement over the rape laws and customs in India.
The Millennials, me and my friends, look at the world in very different ways from our parents and our grandparents. We value and respect our elders (or at least most of us do), but we have learnt (mostly from history, mostly from their mistakes) to look at a more coherent picture instead of the big picture. Our access to all the world’s information, our persistent exposure to the idea of ‘history repeats itself‘, and our adolescent rebellion actually surviving well into our twenties due to an increasingly unaccommodating economy allowing us not to grow up, in its own way, by giving us less accountability through the shifts in many working environments: these are the key factors that will define the next century.
These set the stage and will become the recent history of our children, children who will grow in a world where things are done a little differently by each and every one of us, and where their livelihood and success are threatened if they don’t act and outperform everyone. They will need to make a change in the way the world works for them to be able to survive it.
They will be the perpetual teenager: and that is why they’ll get bored. And when we get bored, we get creative. They’ll also happen to be getting fed up with the way of the world. We’ll begin to change the cycles – possibly unknowingly. Maybe not enough to break the cycle, but at least enough to damage it severely.
Friedman, in his third chapter, describes an unprecedented change in population structures that has already begun and will reach its tipping point in or around the early 2030s. His argument is entirely accurate, and is backed by many others. The problem, or hole, in his thesis is that he looks at humans based entirely on a ‘big picture’ (which is a vital part of the world), completely ignoring the little details (which are equally vital).
Now imagine our kids.
So China’s youth might not let its economy fail. History might not repeat itself. But, even if it did, one other factor needs to be considered: the Chinese are not just in China. The Indians are not just in India. The Arabs are not just in Arabia. That’s the other big change that will crack Friedman’s crystal ball, in many ways: we no longer belong to “one Nation under God”.
“Experience is the mind’s glasses”
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The Far East Issue