Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holgagrafie 2010

Please come to the opening of our group show on Friday April, 2nd from 19:00 at the aff gallery in Berlin, Kochhannstrasse 14...

For more information, please visit: http://www.aff-berlin.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dubai (14): Pink Slip Dubai

On Tuesday night I went to the Pink Slip Dubai, a fairly recent addition to Dubai‘s scene. I knew the term from other cities but was a bit surprised to see this emerge in erstwhile boomtown. Pink Slip events are networking events for job seekers and is meant to bring employers in contact with potential employees. I went there to get a feel for the job market in Dubai as a proxy for the state of the whole economy.

Not surprisingly the slowdown in the economy was visible in the job market as well. The average job seeker at this event was probably out of a job for 8 - 9 months, sectors such as (hard hit) real estate and banking were still very slow and jobs hard to get whereas engineering, oil and gas and construction were picking up. One consultant who helps people set up companies told me that in 2007/2008 they were helping to set up 3 -4 companies per day... in 2009 this figure plummeted to zero, rebounding to about 1 per week currently. As one of the participants said: ,...there is improvement in the economy and job market but no momentum behind...“.

Interestingly, it seems that Abu Dhabi manages to poach employees from Dubai... or as one other participant put it succinctly: „... Dubai‘s pain is Abu Dhabi‘s gain...“.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dubai (13): Interlude III

„... ,This fall I think you‘re riding for - it‘s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn‘t permitted to feel or hear himself hit rock bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement‘s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn‘t supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn‘t supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started. You follow me?‘...“

[J.D. Salinger: Catcher in the Rye, 1951]

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dubai (11): More Holga Dreamscapes...

Dubai (10): TV Show

Through a series of quirky coincidences, Thomas and I ended up on Friday night in the audience of an Arabian TV show. The show was a mix of American Idol, X factor and game show where contestants had to throw a stylised gun in the air and perform some traditional dance moves to it... Then a jury voted and commented on the performance (think of a civilised version of Dieter Bohlen or Simon Cowell)... The audience - as probably in most German, English and US „reality“ shows - was paid for and mostly of second generation Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Yemenite origin, though in traditional UAE garb with dishdashas... I was hoping to meet some „true“ locals... Interestingly, through conversations with some of my immediate neighbours in the audience, most of them „feel“ like UAE citizens (without the citizenship however)... and have shed their connection to their erstwhile home country...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dubai (8): Where is this?

I am returning to the theme of a non-descript, polyglot space which Dubai is at least in parts... It has been built very rapidly, just over the course of a decade or so (and is still growing at a massive speed), incorporates a ragbag of architectural styles and urban planning has been haphazard at best...

As a result - apart from landmark buildings such as the Burj Al Arab or the Burj Khalifa -, Dubai has also produced a whole series of faceless districts that could be anywhere in this world; districts void of any character or any recognisable indigenous cultural traces and signs...

Where is this place? In downtown Denver? Downtown Bangkok? Can you recognise anything unique in this image so that you can pinpoint where it is?

Ironically - or tellingly - these images have been taken in the oldest parts of the city...

The eclecticism of this city is not only expressed in its spacial layout but also in its youth culture... Again, globalisation or the incorporation of anything considered hip in the West is widespread - but not only in Dubai, of course... Even the gestures of these youngsters are copied from LA gangster rappers...

Where are these adolescents from? Where do they live? Can you tell from the image?