I normally write about environmental science and technology but I can’t help but notice when governments and economies behave like damaged environmental systems or unstable high voltage oscillators. Global economies have taxed future generations via inflationary policies and amplified the gap between wealth and poverty. The hot smell of ozone should warn us that a[.....]
Dutch Design Week 2015 is a misnomer, the event actually runs over nine days across 100 locations displaying the experiments and ideas of 2400 designers, including works by students from the Design Academy Eindhoven. Participating designers often focus on environmental problems, but this year many tackled humanitarian problems such as the flow of refugees from the Middle[.....]
Anyone who hasn’t been to Syria in the last few years can’t possibly grasp the full extent of the horrors Syrians have endured, but we do know it has been unspeakably hard. To take the edge off, a handful of artists in Damascus built what the Guinness Book of Records recently confirmed is the world’s[.....]
Israeli photographic duo Wyse + Gabriely concluded their first European exhibition at London’s Neu Gallery this month; an attention-grabbing presentation that purportedly explores “the fake and the fraudulent”.
Drop some sand under a high-definition, three-dimensional light microscope and you’ll never look at a beach the same way again. Magnified 250 times, the tiny grains are shockingly gorgeous! Brilliantly colored or crystal-clear, the origins of each speck emerges; spiral shell fragments, petrified corals, gem-like minerals or crumbs of volcanic rock.
It began as a goofy Instagram project. Malaysian artist and architect Red Hong Yi went on a month-long mission, creating a piece of edible art every day. The result is an incredible visual feast.
Egypt can offer more to desert tourists than camels: In the ancient land of the Pharaohs, desert-dwelling invertebrates have often been part of Egyptian folklore, including scarab or dung beetles which are known to navigate by the stars. Now spiders join the story.
A provocative installation by Lebanese graphic designer Wael Kodeih aims to challenge cyber censorship. Part of the fifth annual Exposure exhibition now at the Beirut Art Center (BAC), is it art or gimmick?
British photographer Mishka Henner has produced some disturbing aerial images of cattle feedlots in Texas, composed of hundreds of high-resolution satellite images stitched together into large format prints. This could be the final push to put me off meat.
David Chipperfield Architects have designed a resplendent new building in fascinating, frustrating Morocco, which will house the The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts – the largest of its kind in the world.
There is something so haunting about desert landscapes, and much as we love our own in the Middle East region, we are blown away by China’s desert scenes depicted through Shi Shaoping’s “The Eggs” art installation.
A friend tipped me off about this strange structure out in the desert a short drive from Dubai. I tried to figure out what it was on Google Earth before driving out to discover a mysterious, disused, concrete amphitheatre.
We’ve seen a lot of really useful applications for 3D printing, but Yariv Goldfarb’s graduation project for the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem is not one of them: printing plastic molds in order to “play with poop.”
Earlier this year I decided to visit a strange looking waste management site in Um Al Quwain – one of seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates. From satellite imagery it looked like raw sewage was being dumped in the desert, just a couple of kilometres from Um Al Quwain’s precious mangrove estuary.
Israeli artist and designer Ron Arad has expressed his love of Fiat 500s in a curious way as part of an art exhibition at the Holon Design Museum near Tel Aviv: he crushed them, then he embalmed them, and now they are hanging on the wall of an art gallery in his birth country.
Kuwaiti graphic designer Mohammad Sharaf serves up powerful pictures based on current events, salted with modern Middle Eastern humor and instantly provocative.
Ask yourself: if you lived in the deep desert, where the sand burns your soles at midday, would you run outside and play soccer? No sane person should. But Dick Sweeney has sent us thought-provoking images of soccer posts in extreme environments that reveal just how much Arabs love their football.
It’s Earth Day, which means you will see at least 100 stories in your Facebook and Twitter feeds that will list the many ways that you can become a better earthly citizen. And most of them are valid. Yet I yearned to find a more meaningful way to honor the day, so this year I[.....]
We love the creative eco design coming out of Tel Aviv. Israel faces nationwide challenges of mismanaged waste and insufficient recycling infrastructure, but from the deserts of Morocco to the streets of Tel Aviv, artists like Yotam Shifroni and Gidi Gilam are seeking solutions through creativity. Around four months ago, Shifroni and Gilam opened Studio Sfog in Tel Aviv. Sfog means “sponge”[.....]
Israeli street artist Nitzan Mintz writes her poems on the streets of Tel Aviv, using disregarded materials she collects from dumpsters and public spaces. “I use only recycled materials in my art,” she said.
Corruption is black, brown, grey, devoid of color. And in Egypt, it can be seen in streets piled high with trash and polluted canals, in maddening traffic resulting from outdated infrastructure, and chronic power outages. Corruption is everywhere, yet this silent killer of hopes and dreams is hard to pin down. Not anymore. A band[.....]
We have to admit that this isn’t anything particularly “green” about this see-saw, but it does harvest the movement of people to make music. And that’s just downright cool. A temporary installation designed for last year’s Marrakech Biennale, The Rise and Fall blends architecture and art to question how people occupy spaces and how those spaces[.....]
“This is not a romance story,” Daniella told me during a recent interview. I met the petite woman at her home on Lamu Island in northern Kenya to speak with her husband, Ali Lamu, whose name is synonymous with a brand of upcycled dhow sails or tangas that are now distributed throughout the world. Daniella[.....]
At the heart of Beirut, Zakaria counters corporate cafe culture with art and heritage As larger coffee and restaurant chains take over the streets of Beirut and other Lebanese cities, smaller, local cafes are abandoning their businesses as they are faced with too much competition. Walking away from the scene is not only a coffee shop[.....]
On a man-made Abu Dhabi island, fake wind towers heat homes instead of cooling them. I recently photographed a new housing development on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. You can see it on Google Earth. The wind tower design originates from Persia. The earliest examples of wind towers, used for cooling houses, in the United Arab Emirates can[.....]
Unleash your inner Thoreau, show the human side of sustainability and and win $10,000 for a creative nonfiction essay. Have you been lucky enough to Dance at the Dead Sea but then couldn’t help but notice its destruction? Or you’ve have had the rare chance to travel and surf through unknown parts of Iran. Perhaps you[.....]
It is rare for an artist from the Middle East to achieve global acclaim, yet Tammam Azzan’s name has appeared in all of the world’s major newspapers and blogs over the last couple of weeks – all for a golden kiss. Reaching his hand down to squeeze the hearts of passive observers in a way[.....]
Taskurgan is an unforgiving place. Located at 10,140 feet in the Pamir mountain range on the borders of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, close to Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, this small autonomous Kashgar Prefecture county in Xinjiang, China is cold, the winters are long, and food is hard to come by. But out of such a place emerged a fascinating[.....]
Now in Abu Dhabi, a wild 56 foot tall pavilion cleans air around it; like taking 260 cars off the road at any given time. New York’s HWKN (Hollwich Kushner) is a New York based architecture and design office whose projects span the worlds of architecture, branding, and development. Their spiky blue air-scrubbing pavilion called Wendy has[.....]
Israeli and Palestinian stage performers are getting together to talk trash. Not nearly as vitriolic on the ground as an outsider might think, the discourse between Arabs and Jews has expanded to include environmental matters that affect both sides such as the cleanliness of shared waterways and skies and the growing problem of trash, among others.[.....]
When we first wrote about the boutique Dar HI Hotel in Nefta, Tunisia, Ben Ali was still in power, and Tunisia was one of the Middle East and North African region’s most egalitarian Arab countries. So much has changed since the Jasmine Revolution, leaving both the population and their natural environment more vulnerable than ever[.....]
Israeli eco-innovation is spreading to all reaches of the planet, often sowing great green seeds where it touches down. The Tel Aviv-based architecture studio Talmon Biran sent us images of their entry into a recent design competition for the Nikola-Lenivets artist community in Russia’s Kaluga region. Conceived in tandem with Anna Leshchinsky, the proposal calls for[.....]
Israel’s Vertigo Dance Company made its Australian debut at the Brisbane Festival in September. They performed a piece titled Mana, which means “vessel of light” and comes from the Zohar, the Jewish mystical text. Mana featured eight dancers exploring the contrasts between dark and light, male and female. Both the moon and sun were powerful[.....]
At the end of September an interactive multi-media exhibit, Eco Future, opened at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi. The family-oriented exhibit presents children and their families with the opportunity to engage with environmental issues, with an emphasis on urban planning, and to see how the decisions they make today might impact the future. In[.....]
If you are in Cairo, don’t miss these fun and fabulous recycling and upcycling workshops at Darb 1718 Following what looks like a very successful Recycling Art festival at the end of August, Darb 1718 are hosting a set of four recycling workshops this month. With sessions on the 9, 10, 16 and 17 of[.....]
None of Egypt’s pyramids existed. Khafre wouldn’t commission the Great Pyramid of Giza for another 1500 years. But some time around 4000 BCE an Egyptian artist discovered the secret. This secret was the wonderful alchemy which transformed sand, ash, calcite lime, copper and fire into a lustrous blue-green gem worthy of the pharaohs. Faience, also[.....]
We used to think of Beirut as a brown, concrete city lacking color and green space, but the Dihzahyners are challenging such dreary labels by painting the city white, pink, purple, green, orange and every other color of the rainbow. A collective of artists and designers armed with buckets of paint (non-toxic, we hope?) and[.....]
Developing a new ecosystem for multi-disciplinary design? Will this need high-end design hub earmark space for sustainable design? If you think Ikea has got the top modern décor, you should check out some of Dror Benshetrit’s designs for products, interiors, architecture, art installations. The studio named after the innovator will be relocated to SoHo this[.....]
Ugandan eco-artist Ruganzu “Bruno” Tusingwire gave up art that is hung on walls in favor of doing work that actually makes a difference. Now that lofty ambition has received a substantial financial boost that will allow the 29-year-old to improve life for hundreds of children who live in the slums of Kampala. The first of[.....]
He asks hundreds of thousands of people around the world to strip for his cause, but when naked activist photographer Spencer Tunick returns to Israel to help “save the Dead Sea” he’ll be floating clothed. The award-winning photographer from the US travels the world, and asks volunteers to strip as naked subjects in his art[.....]
Building with earth can be beautiful, especially when viewed through the lens of Sicilian photographer Giusi Cosentino. We featured her work once before in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution. One of her most renowned images depicts a veiled woman holding a used canister of tear gas – a particularly lethal brand of which was[.....]
We have often written about the land mines that riddle Egypt’s desert. Originally planted during World War II by both Axis and Allied forces, these insidious weapons of war have since drifted from their original location, posing tremendous risk to local people. Egyptian researchers strive to find safe methods to clear explosive mine fields and[.....]
We are in the midst of a global obsession with LEGO building blocks. No longer strictly a childhood toy, these colorful plastic blocks designed by Denmark’s Kristiansen family in the 1930s are popping up everywhere: corporations are building the tallest this and that in order to market their products and artists are using them to[.....]
Spencer Tunick will return to Israel this September to celebrate the anniversary of last year’s wildly controversial Dead Sea naked photo shoot. Designed to draw attention to the plight of the hyper-saline (and dangerously endangered) lake shared by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories, the art campaign was enormously successful even though it drew widespread[.....]
We’ve often wondered: do people in the Middle East just not see the trash that has taken over their lives? 10453: A Story About Life in 1 km2 of Trash answers that question with a roaring yes. they. do. Written & directed by Camille Brunel Aoun and produced by The (B)IM Project or Books in[.....]
Toni Polo, founder of Radio Groovalizacion explains how music and migration are shaping contemporary culture in the Middle East and North Arfica. As an avid “world music” listener – although I don’t like this term but I still haven’t found a better one- it is always an immense pleasure to discover hidden musical gems. One organization[.....]
Following a spate of tire burning protests in Beirut that choke the city’s skies and people, Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri staged a colorful protest. The creative duo behind Bokja Design Studio treated more than a dozen tires with the same reverence as their antique and vintage furniture pieces by wrapping them in opulent textiles[.....]
Green Prophet runs into an interesting event in Pisa, Italy. When tourists visit Pisa, Italy they discover not only that the tower really does lean but also that there is a considerable number of immigrants and refugees speaking perfect Italian waiting for them. The Arab spring has created a considerable influx of refugees seeking stability[.....]
Mohammed Kanoo’s portraits aim to tease out our biases about the Middle East. Above is US President Barack Obama. In his solo exhibition Fun with Fen (fen is Arabic for “art”) currently on display at Dubai’s Meem Gallery, the Bahraini artist Mohammed Kanoo depicts international celebrities dressed in traditional Arab costume. Kanoo’s digitally enhanced photographs are[.....]
Guy Lougashi makes incredible sculptures entirely out of either colored or transparent tape. Eschewing the hardening or drying phase of many sculptural materials such as clay or paper pulp, the artist claims that tape is an incredibly versatile material that forms an excellent foundation for other design projects. And now it’s possible to glean some[.....]
Israeli Opera Festival 2012 will feature five performances of the classic opera, Carmen, June 7 to 11 at Masada. According to the Israeli Opera’s Artistic Director, Michael Ajzenstadt, 50,000 people from across Israel and all over the world are coming to experience opera at the lowest point on earth, beneath the mountain of Masada and[.....]
It may surprise many Iranians living in the country’s dense and sprawling desert capital to know that millions of cubic liters of water are wasted every day. But where? Underground mostly, although occasionally modern construction projects smack up against an ancient irrigation system called quanats, resulting in devastating water losses and other destruction. How to[.....]