Living in the Future so the Present is Past
The past month has been an overwhelming one. December was a great crashing wave due at least in part to the massive undertow of change heralded by the 2022 World Cup win for Qatar but also of projects like our dear @MathafModern. Suddenly (or ‘finally’ as the favorite anecdote goeth) we don’t need to explain to ignants that we’re ‘next to Dubai’.
To get to these glimmering horizons we are going to stampede certain elements of the present and past. I’ll quote Kanye here and say, “We’re living the future so the present is our past.” (My presence is a present. Kiss my ass.)
In other words, the road to the sunrise is uncompromising and the drive gives me a throbbing anxiety to match the aching hope of our generation, our ‘boom gen’ of Arabs. What will become of the buildings not yet listed as ‘heritage’ sites, strange and charming complexes from the 70s and 80s: Imaginative residences built to evoke space ships and Brazilia, many of which are already in rubble.
While on the subject, Mahmoud Kaabour warned me not to get caught up in a blind drive to document and ‘rescue’ the culture, the aesthetic, the people. His project Satwa Stories set out to elegize the ‘eyesore’ neighborhood in Dubai. In a way it succeeded (Satwa didn’t end up razed) but in other ways he seemed to feel it was in vain. When the resin of greed drowning Dubai started to cool and harden with the financial crisis, certain elements were preserved by default when the bulldozer ran out of gas.
The above video is a simple document of my encounter with a clump of detour lights a few nights ago. The street was silent, and I couldn’t leave it there without paying it it’s due attention.
The visual of this blinking cluster perfectly crystalized this moment in Qatar for me. Like a mosquito dead in tree sap, preserved in amber and stuck on the end of an insane Paleontologist’s cane. Years later I’ll come back to this little video and draw out the essence of what once was (And turn it into a dangerous, badly dinosaur-proofed amusement park).
So, without further ado, I welcome the year at hand.
In 2011 I will chew my food AND taste it.
I will compromise less AND give way to more.
And I will devote myself to Doha in new ways.
Because only in a city smoldering with the kind of possibility this one does would I be allowed to spend the afternoon embers of December 31, 2010 hanging out with Slavoj Zizek for no other reason than he likes to tell terrible jokes about semen drinking to young Arab ladies.
Decade # 2 >>> Yella. Bring it.