Monday, August 01, 2016

The Mind Detox Challenge

© Outdoor mural in Reykjavik. YE

Fourteen years ago I stopped watching TV. I had just moved to a new country, had to adopt living in a completely different culture, had to learn Arabic in one year so that I could attend university and basically I figured that if I were to succeed I needed all the hours of they day. When I moved into my small flat, I looked around and it became absolutely obvious – the TV was to go. The rational was simple – the TV was like comfort food for the mind. It fed you the junk that satisfies its short-term cravings, gave you an illusion refuge, while numbing your senses and flatting out your brain cells. I knew myself well enough to know that I would not be able to resist the temptation to choose the TV over some difficult Arabic lesson, so I had to throw it out. When the source of the temptation is removed, the giving into it becomes manageable. The trick worked and I never went back to watching TV and have been proudly labeling myself as a “no-TV” person.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hossam Sakr - A World of Finite Number of Touches and Colours

I met Hossam Sakr for the first time in the autumn of 2003. Our first meeting was very much Cairo-style. One warm busy evening I ended up at a party in his studio in Dokki district not knowing neither the host nor any of the other guests (apart from my boyfriend at the time who had brought me to the party). The studio was packed with people, it had high ceilings, dim lighting, was furnished with antique furniture and had the most peculiar paintings spread all over the place. All this was new to me – I was still discovering the secrets of Cairo and little had I known that such colourful and vibrant space could exist behind the plain, dirty, grey-yellow façade of the run down building where the studio was located.
I got myself a drink, walked a bit around, examined the people all of whom were busy having conversations, saw a little child sleeping on the bed in one of the rooms in complete peace, undisturbed by the noise.

Monday, January 03, 2011


Най-накрая успях да се добера до вкъщи. Пак беше един от тези горещи задушни дни, в които усещаш как прахта от замърсения въздух на града прониква през всяка пора на тялото ти, подпомагана от потта, която те облива цял ден. Тези дни вече 4 месеца не са се променяли. Работа не липсваше и днес – деца, учители, посетители. Обичайната доза артисти, турско кафе с кардамон и лимов сок с мента. Беше четвъртък и лудницата, както в галерията, така и на улицата, беше по-голяма от останалите дни на седмицата. Привечер (макар че само часовникът показваше, че вечерта наближава, тъй като навън все още напичаше, като че ли е обед) най-накрая приключих със задачите за деня, събрах си нещата и се изнесох много по-бързо от обичайното. Днес нямах много време за мотаене и социализиране, защото най-накрая бях успяла да организирам уроците си по видео монтаж и не ми се искаше поне малко да си почина и освежа преди тях. Руби, млад и много талантлив видео артист, с когото работих по един проект и, който често се мотае при нас в галерията, щеше да дойде вкъщи след вечерната молитва, което беше след малко по-малко от два часа, за първия ми урок.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Punch-Drunk Love or is love really that simple?

What began as a strange story of a man who was sitting on a lonely desk in the corner of a big garage space, dressed in the most awkward blue suit imaginable, and having a shy and nervous conversation on the phone about a frequent flyer miles promotion on healthy food products, turned out to be one of the most delicately told love stories that I have seen on the big screen (or the smaller laptop screen). And when I say a “love story”, don’t automatically image any of the thousands insipid tales of a boy-meets-girl and boy-marries-girl-at-the-end, and all told in a painfully predictable manner. It wasn’t this.
Well, to begin with, this story was not really told in the sense of narrated through action. It was rather painted on the screen. The motion was so minimal that almost every frame looked liked a frozen section of a big three-dimensional canvas, at first very zoomed in, showing only a small initial detail of the picture, but then slowly zooming out to show the whole picture. The colors used were also minimal – blue and white, blue and red, some black, but just enough to underline the brightness of the rest. And think the classical shades of these colors – basic but vibrant, simple but powerful. There was also this incredible motion in the stillness – an illusion that makes you see the movement of the hand that was painting all this. To add up to the beauty of it all, this sense of motion was mostly conveyed through sound – also very minimal, isolated and often un-tuned tones at the beginning, that slowly built up to a harmonious crisp clear melody towards the end.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Soufflé au chocolat noir

The soufflé au chocolat noir experiment was successfully conducted, and I am happy to share that the result was great! After overcoming the intimidation of its secrecy and the respect I've always felt for this desert, I fully agree with the cooking engineer that "the difficulty in preparing a soufflé has been somewhat exaggerated over time". I think that the French have conspired to make it look so difficult to prepare, so that they (and the big chefs around the world) have the monopoly over it:). But believe me - it is as easy as pie! It's even easier than making an ordinary tea cake (which I never can get quite right). It's also times easier to cook than a good creme caramel, which is another desert I've cooked several times.