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IGAF: The return of — a meta post.

Caramblogage is a strange beast that has found its way back to its roots in some fashion.

When we started out, sometime around 2004, I was fresh out of English Lit, a freshman in graphic design. At the time, a place was needed to put down words on screen, no matter who would read them. So, this was the place to put them. An irregular series called Is Goodness a Fashion documented random thoughts on technology, advertising, society and, in it's fourth installment, ecology.

The aim was to explore, mostly for myself, current topics I felt I should know a thing or two about. At the time, mostly due to age, I felt that I knew enough about anything to write at length and in detail, about everything.

Now, due maybe some maturity acquired in the process of aging, I try and research what I write about before I write it. That explains the current nature of this beast: research is hard and time-consuming work. So in stead of researching an entirely new topic every few weeks, I made a decision that would affect the blog and the content posted on it for a while: I would post stuff that I was doing here. You've seen the sketches, the books and the films, the aborted project fetuses and the occasional poster or font.

In other words, this became the blog that documented the work of the guy behind it, offering little opinion and much exposition of projects that mean the world to me while I make them. They still do.

This year has been full of change, both personal and global, starting out with the Egyptian revolution and not ending. The most recent events that have global impact I can think of are the death of Steve Jobs, the occupy movement and Muammar Kathafi being shot in his hole. And ongoing, of course, as events unfold.

One personal change this year brought for me is a cause. Which sounds strange as I write it, but is the closest I can come to describing a series of realisations that bring me where I am now. With the Egyptian revolution, I was forced to re-examine my long-held position that one man cannot change the world, that passivity, though generally more pleasant, was no longer an option. In the words of Amelie Poulain, I decided "de me meler des affaires des autres".

Earlier posts may have given some indication of what was to come. So yes, a graphic designer in times of revolt can be useful in his own way, especially when they stick to what they know and design pretty flyers for demos, right? Or turns his attention to street art.

Maybe, but not this one.

Palästinah, that project I have been going on about for a while (and will continue to do until it's over), proved something I had my suspicions about: Put together brilliant people with good ideas in a room and something great will come out of it.

Look at the website in it's current state and compare that to what it had been at the outset – a photo exhibition in the atrium of a theatre – to what it has matured to in a few short weeks, an event with theatre, dance, readings and film, not to mention it's own, gorgeous trailer, shot and edited by Selim Harbi as part of a series of interviews with Palestinian kids living in Berlin.

All this is not a testament to perfect planning (useful) , good contacts (they help) or even hard work (it is). Rather, I like to think of this as the first step on a journey that started with a simple idea. Then we ran with it, each bringing our specific talents and personality to this project. Out of this and a few happy coincidences became what is going to happen in November.

At the same time, other things are beginning to happen, testament to the endurance and patience of those involved, knowingly or unknowingly, in future projects. It also says a lot about the passion and a new courage to express yourself, and give others a platform for expression when it counts, that is felt by many in Germany, no matter where their roots lie.

To name a few now: A second installment of Freisprechanlage, which Sara Duana Meyer is planning as we speak. Palästinah MKII (as I call it), a slightly expanded version of the programme on now. Voices from the Revolution by Heba Amin, currently one of my favourite people due to her keen understanding of processes that happen in a head when you combine sounds and pictures in space (entre autres). And a few other things I have to keep under wraps for now, but that should materialise sooner than expected.

What unites most of these projects is the format. They seek not to display, but to explore and, in the process, lead the viewer to a new understanding of the situation and people in countries not close to  home through arts, culture and direct engagement with the subject matter.

They aim to create a context for pictures you see in the news, for processes that have repercussions far from their epicentre, as proven by the Occupy movement, which is inspired, I believe, in part, by what is happening in Tunis, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Libya and Syria – but that is another post, and one for another day.

They also aim to make the Arab world, or the worlds of Arabs, more accessible to European audiences, familiar with the broad strokes of life in the Bilad (countries), but not with the individuals or groups that make up that life. Any country is its own experience.

Speaking of which, I was recently in Hamburg with OMRAS to attend a workshop organised by the Yalla Initiative,  a  network of people interested in supporting the Arab Spring (or whatever you wanna call it) from Germany. We now have plans too. Put brilliant people in a room…

Which brings us neatly back to IGAF. You may have noticed a marked change in content since the beginning of the year.

More to come.


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