Currently showing at the London Design Festival
The Free Parti movement was created out of my own discontent towards everyday life in my hometown of Beirut, Lebanon. This project started out as a personal statement of my disenfranchised and numb feelings concerning the socio-political climate of my country. As the continuous issues pile on in Beirut, from the recurring bombings to the political instability and everything in between, myself and others stopped caring about what was happening around us and tried to escape our stress. The nightlife and rave scene became a safe place where people could form a community and create their own utopic Beirut.
What started out as an attempt to create a utopian Beirut as a communication design project revealed itself to be much deeper. I realized that I had the responsibility to transform the rave community into a critically and politically engaged group in society. With this project, I’d like to give a new form of what a society is, a new sense of allegiance by transforming the rave scene of Beirut into it’s own political party. Creating something that exists on the boundary between fact and fiction, really pushing the idea of creating something that exists already and shaping it into something more surreal, more established, with a strange sense of identity, where it feels almost uncomfortable. This whole project uses deception, communication and design tactics to dilute and simplify politics. This hopefully opens up a debate; there is an active understanding now, instead of just passive consumption.
Logo and identity
The smiley face used as the logo of the movement is reminiscent of the smiley from the acid house heydays, changed slightly to make it look uncomfortable. The color yellow was chosen to suggest punk and acid house aesthetics, even the paper choice, printing method (using a standard photocopier), use of handwriting on posters and flyers implies a DIY approach, just like the punk subculture.
I am proposing new connotations and somehow establishing the nightlife scene of Beirut into it's own political party, with a strange sense of identity.
Badges, stickers, t shirts and other forms of merchandise have been created, just as Lebanese political parties do
A magazine was created out of this idea to have this “movement” more established. All of the articles are taken from articles from around the world but words have been changed to reference Beirut. Essentially, all of the communication material in this project is bilingual: all of what is presented in English is fake while the Arabic presents the pure facts. The magazine in itself needs to be played with, you can tear open the French folds and they give an extra layer of meaning and break the illusion by o ering facts in a fictional setting.
The posters were done by recreating known posters of the Lebanese civil war altering their meaning by use of English text and color in context of a rave. The dates used are very particular to Lebanese political history written in Arabic with the correct year date but in English and in 2017. The posters show “martyred heroes” which in my hands presents DJs as the “Heroes of the Night”, that enforce a collision of reality and fiction.
Record cover and music
The record cover presents a collage, created digitally represent surreal settings, echoing the rave community looking to escape the real world, just as the rave discourse states, used recurrently throughout the whole identity.
To further establish the Free Parti movement as a rave community, I’ve collaborated with two music producers Balestana and Danayarra Tolentino to create techno tracks using the same 3 sound files. Those sound files depict sounds of bombings during the Lebanese civil war and the Lebanon-Isreal war of 2006. I’ve asked them to create techno music using the bombings as drum and bass, as a way to communicate the way politics is diluted/simplified in an attempt to engage the youth.
Music to follow