Monday, March 30, 2009

New Dubai Morality Rules

So a few of my friends have been talking about some new morality rules that have been introduced by the Dubai moral police, or whatever they're called. I was at the mall the other day, and noticed that there are a few signs around the place that advise people against certain behaviour and dress. It's weird when this sort of stuff comes up, because a lot of rumours start getting spread around, and no-one knows what the actual situation is.

Firstly, I think these rules have pretty much always been in place, they just haven't been enforced. I know a girl who was asked to leave the Mall of the Emirates because she was wearing slightly revealing clothing. She told me that she was given a 'red card' by some morality police, and was asked to leave, but I get the feeling she's exaggerating. I've also heard that under the new laws, laughing in public is forbidden. This has surely got to be a joke (zing!).

So how did the new rules come about? Well, according to The Economist:
"A commission chaired by the crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, has proposed a code of public conduct to tighten strictures on dress, drinking, dancing and public displays of affection, such as kissing.
Not yet law, the code stresses tolerance and respect for diversity as cornerstones of Dubai’s success. But it also stipulates that improper behaviour that flouts local customs may lead to fines, prosecution or deportation. This is neither new nor unexpected. Dubai’s authorities recently jailed and deported a British couple caught having sex on a public beach, and have sentenced another Briton, a mother of two, to prison for adultery. Occasional morality campaigns have led to suspected homosexuals and cross-dressers being pestered, and may have dented the emirate’s thriving prostitution trade."

So they rules aren't actually law yet, they're just a recommended code of conduct. And according to the AP, the rules are as follows:

"Dancing and playing loud music in public will be banned. Couples kissing, holding hands or hugging could face fines or detention.

Miniskirts and skimpy shorts would no longer be tolerated outside hotels and other private areas. Bikini wearers also could be chased off public beaches and only allowed on the fenced-off sands of luxury resorts.

Other no-nos: drinking alcohol outside licensed premises or swearing and displaying rude gestures in public..."

Again, there's nothing really that new there, is there? OK, so the hugging in public thing is a bit strict, but I haven't read anything that is a major departure from what has been the case before. And there's definitely nothing there about a ban on laughter.

So what do you guys think? What other rules have you heard about? Do you think the morality police are being too tough, or is it about time that Dubai tamed things down a bit?

My opinion? I find it odd that men are allowed to hold hands in public, but that men and women aren't. I think drinking in the street isn't something that should be encouraged, but I also think that people wearing bikinis shouldn't be hassled or ushered off public beaches. So it's a mixed result really.

Let me know what you think in the comments below..

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are Trailer

Sometimes something gets blogged about so much, that you feel that you're not doing your duty if you don't spread the word as well. Today, that subject is the trailer for Spike Jonze's interpretation of Maurice Sendak's illustrated story Where The Wild Things Are.

You can view a HD Quicktime version of the trailer here.

I don't think that there's really anything much more to say, other than I cannot wait until this film comes out. If you're wondering what the song in the trailer is, it's a new version of 'Wake Up' by Canadian band The Arcade Fire. I'm told that the book was adapted by the writer Dave Eggers, who is responsible for the amazing book "A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius", so I think hopes are pretty high all around for this film, based on the team who were involved in bringing it to the screen. According to IMDB, it should be released around October the 19th, so looks like we're in for quite the wait unfortunately. I guess we should be thankful that it was made at all..

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Art Cars

Just saw this over on TrendLand. Some guys are using old 80's model BMWs as canvases and putting them on display at a gallery in Manhattan.

Their works are inspired by artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Frank Stella. I think the exhibition opened yesterday, and runs for 2 weeks, so if you're in New York, make sure you check it out. Can you imagine how much fun it'd be to get a car and just go crazy with it? Not too sure what I'd put on mine to be honest. Maybe something like this painted comic-book style:

Anyway, it's good to see some artists out there who are just having fun..

Sunday, March 22, 2009

See-through Seafood

Does anyone else think this is the craziest thing ever? I saw this over on the National Geographic website. It's called a Pacific Barreleye Fish, and it lives off the coast of California. I honestly though that the image above was just a comped-up design to illustrate what the fish 'might' look like. But then I watched the video below, and was just blown away. I just can't figure out what possible benefit would arise from having a transparent head.

Can you imagine how stunned you'd be if you caught one of these things if you were going fishing? Anyway, check out the video, it's pretty amazing..

Flickr blocked in the UAE?

So, in the name of public decency, Flickr has been blocked in the UAE by all of the major ISPs. This is such a ridiculous decision, and effectively means that users of Flickr in the UAE can't access their own photostreams, and communicate with other users from around the world. As you might know, I sometimes post images from different events that I go to up on Flickr. These photos are now non-existant to my friends and people who visit my site from within the UAE.

It's really almost embarrassing that in this day and age, the UAE insists on such ridiculous censorship. Flickr isn't pornographic, it's just a medium that people use to share photos and short films that they've made or that interest them. So now if one of my friends from abroad sends me a link to their photos, or someone links to a Flickr post on Twitter, I can't see what they're talking about.

So, my question to you, dear readers, is how can we get around the blocks? Are there sites we can visit that show us how to get around the censorship, or have they been blocked too? If you've got any ideas, be sure to post them in the comments section below..

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Image Dump 7

So did anyone go to Art Dubai this weekend? I have to admit, I had plans to go with some friends, but got sidetracked and decided to watch some DVDs on the couch and just go for coffee with some people. Pretty lazy, I know. Oh well, here's this week's image dump:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Daft Punk and Drum Set

A friend sent me through these awesome websites. You just go on, and the keys you press on your keyboard make different sounds. Click on the images to visit the sites.

The first one is the lyrics of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger":

The second is just like a drum machine with some basic samples and synthesiser sounds:

I've been having fun with this stuff for the last few hours. Great stuff. If any of you have any other examples of these kinds of sites, please send them through to me. Enjoy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Futura in Dubai

Firstly, I just wanted to apologise for the lack of posting recently. I've been running back and forth between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on family business, so I've been a bit lazy.

But the wait has definitely been worth it. Those of you who read Kanye West's blog, or Hypebeast, will have seen that the legendary, internationally acclaimed graffiti artist Futura is coming to Dubai. He's coming as part of an exhibition being put on by Krunk, on March 19th, at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery. For those of you who don't know, Cuadro Gallery is in the DIFC. Futura's work will be shown alongside work from artists Phil Frost and Stash. The exhibition will run until June 17th.

This is sure to be a great event. I can't believe that I only discovered that it was on this close to the actual launch date. It seems that every week we hear about more and more awesome artistic events taking place in Dubai. Let's hope the trend continues..

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In praise of Devin McGrath

I stumbled onto these illustrations from NY-based illustrator Devin McGrath over on Josh Spear's site. This guy has a real knack for creating surreal and creepy worlds involving mutant animals and mildly threatening 10 year olds. I can imagine McGrath would be a good choice to illustrate a children's version of an HP Lovecraft compendium, if they make such a thing. He's got a pretty twisted sense of humour (see the Unicorn piece below), but I really love the guy's use of colour; he's got a talent for making the bright and shiny seem somehow corrupt and sickly.

They've also featured Devin's work over on Juxtapoz and Lost At E Minor, so the guy is getting some good exposure. Hopefully we'll see more from him in the near future.

Also, if you head to his site, check out the guy's bio, it's pretty funny stuff..

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Hoff in Dubai

I was reading 7 Days today, and it turns out that David Hasselhoff has been visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the past few weeks. If you check out his blog, you'll see a bunch of videos of him walking around the mall, skiing at Ski Dubai, and doing a bunch of other stuff:

Has anyone bumped into 'The Hoff' while he has been in town? A friend of mine saw him in Paris once, and said he was a genuinely nice guy, so if you get the chance to say hi to him, I'd say go ahead.

On another note, if you've got a Twitter account, don't hesitate to follow my feed, which you can find here. It's the most interesting Twitter feed on the internet..

Friday, March 6, 2009

Image Dump 6

I can't get that old Buddy Holly track 'Everyday' out of my head for some odd reason. Anyway, here's this week's image dump:

That last image is apparently from a Buddhist monastery where a monk has been praying in the same spot for like 40 years. Pretty crazy huh?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Terminator trailer

Just saw this, and had to pass it on to you guys:

I've been hesitant to get on board for this new Terminator movie after what happened in T3, but this actually looks great. Like, really great. And apparently they're making two more, so this is really just the first part of a trilogy. Can't wait until this one comes out. I guess that Christian Bale freakout was worth it after all..

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crayon creations

Just saw some of Christian Faur's work over on Neu Black. I've been seeing it on a few different sites over the past few days, so I thought I'd put it up here as well. The guy makes these amazing pixelated artworks by skillfully arranging custom-made crayons. He does other stuff as well, so check out his website and see his full portfolio, there's heaps of great stuff..

I like the fact that in some of his works he's deliberately thrown some odd coloured crayons in there, like in the above image. He chooses not to make his image a totally perfect replication. It's almost like he's saying "we both know I'm capable of doing this perfectly, but I don't need to show that." It's a nice touch..

Sunday, March 1, 2009

24-karat bike

Ok, so this is a bit ridiculous. Remember in that episode of The Simpsons where the old tramp guy wins a lawsuit against Itchy & Scratchy, and he goes and buys a rocket car and a solid gold house? This is kind of like that. Over on Booooooom they've got some pictures of this 24-karat gold fixed-gear bicycle. It's made by a company called Aurumania, and apparently has diamonds or crystals implanted into the frame. Check it out:

So how much for one of these bikes? Around US$104,000.
At first I thought this was a really stupid thing to make, especially in the current financial climate. But then again, maybe it's genius. Maybe all the guys who would be buying massive Hummers will start buying fixed-gear bikes and cruising around town on them, which would mean less pollution and less cars on the road. Win-win right? Yeah I'll believe it when I see it..

Credit where it's due

Just saw this great video over on Neu Black. It's a motion graphic explanation of how the current financial crisis arose, by a guy called Jonathan Jarvis. It's hands-down the most simple and understandable summary of what caused the mess we're in today. Plus it's also really nicely designed and put together. Make sure you watch it so you can talk about Sub-prime Mortgages and actually know what the word means: