Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Perfumed Garden

The Perfumed Garden is part of an ongoing novel project, Khan elThawra. 

The project will explore the production, maintenance and manifestation of mainstream ideologies in the Arab world. It creates a constant confrontation between the visceral and the acquired notions of being. It disassembles acquired political constructs and puts them in competition with visceral evolutionary life systems.      

How sustainable is an enforced construct? How dependent is a people on these constructs, their methodologies and why? 

The viewpoint of this project is as broad as the construction of our contemporary arab environments, and as specific as marital fidelity. The paradigm that is being anatomized is the 'Mistress vs. Wife' and the concept of the 'Learned Unethical'. As our focal points have been shifted from the center of our bodies and lent to politically driven ideologies and discourse, life has become exhausting. 

It is exhausting to live in an impersonal apartment. The decline of Arab architecture. It is exhausting to speak in acquired dialect. The decline of Arab language. It is exhausting to consume imported produce. The decline of Arab commerce. It is exhausting to not be able to live with whomever you love. The decline of Arab society. It is exhausting to be helpless - to think before calling it Palestine, Occupied Palestine, or Israel. The decline of Arab sovereignty. It is exhausting to be packaged, framed and dubbed Third-world. The decline of Arab identity. 

The Perfumed Garden proposes a different mapping of the Arab world, reshuffling it geographically where one can walk from Beirut to Jerusalem, for example. In terms of production, the chapter was written in conjunction with Issue Zero of The Outpost magazine. What was used as external media were the articles in that issue. The topics and characters discussed where the main building blocks of "The Perfumed Garden"'s plot and narrative. 

L'Origine(s) du Monde

While developing Issue One of The Outpost magazine, we wanted to create a supplement that would extend the discourse of the issue The Possibility of Moving Forward.
To do so, we decided to produce a children's book.

The parameters: Do not insult their intelligence.
The goal: Discuss serious topics (politics, society, life, death, sexuality and family) in a fantasy framework that would protect the children from the crudeness of the topics, not their truth, hoping that 'the perils of living in 3D' become less perilous, or at least...more interesting.

L'Origine(s) du Monde deals with knowledge, and the relationship of the individual with the universe. It presents the hypothesis that each and every one of us is the origin of the world, and to make the world a better place, each and every one of us must make their point in time and space better. 
L'Origine(s) du Monde is licensed under CreativeCommons to encourage its translation into different media. Currently, it's being adapted to the theater by Lina Abiad and her class at LAU and is a selected participant at the Bologna Children's Book fair.

Text Raafat Majzoub
Illustrations Joan Baz
Edited by Layal Hasrouni