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STORIES

We are constantly searching for stories and people that offer us surprising insight about the Middle East.

BIG IDEAS

Our stories must cause a shift in our understanding, ultimately helping us weave together an alternative tapestry of knowledge.

NEW MEDIA

We cut through multiple media platforms to tell our stories immersively.

COMMUNITY

Our stories are powered by collaborations, as well as by artists and digital experts.

OUR PROJECTS

BORDERS

Knooz Room traverses the borders of five countries and discovers life on these geopolitical faultlines. We bring you stories of hope and resilience, of awesome individuals who built beautiful lives amid limbo, and examine the veracity of demarcation lines that are a mainstay of Arab debates.

TALE OF A LOST VILLAGE

BORDERS: LEBANON - PALESTINE

There were only 200 of them, and after the lines were drawn there were none. An interactive piece on a village erased by shifting borders.

BEAUTY SHOP TALK

BORDERS: LEBANON - SYRIA

This installment of “Borders” represents a more immediate encounter with the demarcation lines. Rather than re-enact a history, we observe the current creation of a border frontier, the devastating manifestations of this on a community, and the unfolding of a refugee’s story in the immediate aftermath of her displacement. We found in her story remarkable parallels with a 1987 film from Syria, considered one of the most powerful critiques of Arab state-lines, their arbitrariness and capacity for disruption.

WHERE NOMADS DON'T ROAM

BORDERS: JORDAN - SAUDI ARABIA

Illustrated story, Bedouin culture after the drawing of national borders. Twenty-five-year-olds Atallah and Jley are repositories of Bedouin memory. Together they re-enact their heritage before it was co-opted by a thriving tourist industry. And before states were created, crippling a core element of Bedouin culture: roaming.

CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND IDENTITY

Creative Expression and Identity is a three-part series about people’s struggles to innovate art in the Arab world. To express an increasingly multidimensional existence, characters must straddle between local and global, and constantly experiment with ways to express this delicate situation.

ليلة مع ليلى - LEILA MA' LEILA

CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND IDENTITY

We trace the music-making process of the young music sensation Mashrou’ Leila, sitting in on a jam session where they piece together songs for their newest album. We then parse through the ingredients of their released music, and immerse ourselves in the audience at their concert in Baalbeck, considered the pinnacle of their careers thus far.

في خزانة بكل بيت - THERE IS A CLOSET IN EVERY HOUSE

CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND IDENTITY

Four actors, a director, an assistant director and stage manager from Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon drop words like bombs about what it means to be young and alive in Amman today.

INSIDE THE BEIRUTI STUDIO

CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND IDENTITY

Knooz Room takes a dizzying tour of Beiruti music history through the eyes of one of its self-described 'Dragons'.

UPCOMING PROJECTS

KnoozRoom has joined forces with alternative news portal Mashallah News to create a long- form interactive mapping series that uncovers old or little known routes in the region. The series aims to help us imagine an alternative reality to an increasingly divided Middle East.

TEAM

We are a journalist-creative coder team that taps into the region’s artist community to make visually appealing immersive story. KnoozRoom works with traditional content producers looking to publish important narratives in an innovative fashion.

Tamara Qiblawi

Tamara Qiblawi

Chief story-teller / Producer

full time dreamer

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Mireille Raad

Mireille Raad

Partner / Creative Coder

part time schemer

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CONTRIBUTORS

Bane Fakih

Film Maker

Chantal Partamian

Film Maker

Tarek Keblaoui

Film Maker

Lara Eidi

Singer / Songwriter

Karam Ghoussain

Film Maker

Ramzi Bashour

Film Maker

Raphael Khouri

Screenplay writer

Elia Tawil

Illustrator

Da Vinci Production

Sound Engineering

SPONSORS

COLLABORATORS

FRIENDS

BLOG

ART

Creative Music and the Rejection of Cultural Boxes

What is Arab art, really? As with all KnoozRoom series, we are provoked to examine the seemingly unanswerable questions. We scavenge for fragments of knowledge that come up in stories and conversation, not claiming to have found answers, but knowing the insight will cause a shift in our understanding. What makes art done by Arabs, Arab art? Was the Lebanese band that regaled European audiences with Jazz revival tunes this Spring lugging a cultural product around with them? Probably not. How about the Jordanian hip hop artist that raps about Palestine and Arab revolutions, his lyrics interspersed by folkloric melodies? More complicated, pestering us to take off our intellectual caps and really just enjoy the music.

VIDEO

Omar el-Zeenni

Omar el Zeenni is a folkloric Lebanese social critic and poet. Born in 1898 in Beirut’s Zkak Blat, he attended the Ottman College where he joined the school’s musical band. Upon finishing his studies, he started to work as a teacher in his own school but soon World War I erupted in 1914 causing him to flee Beirut for Homs in Syria. He joined a military school where he graduated as “dabet idari”? after 6 months.

Media

Spreading ideas in a very ‘knoo’ way

We’ve just been featured at a media outlet for the first time and we couldn’t be happier.

Knooz Room embrasses and utilizes our oral culture to bridge the gaps in our underdeveloped research sector, and telling us fascinating tales in the process.

War

muffled voices speak of civil war

Yesterday, Beirut was a soundless city. That’s the thing about violence. The rattle of guns, cries of anguish and roaring of bombs are always followed by silence, broken only by muffled voices asking, could it be that we are returning to war?

Culture

RIP Anthony Shadid

Anthony Shadid was a true treasure and his loss cuts deep. Shadid embodied great journalism, that was both conscientious and heartfelt, something that is in short supply in a region steeped in orientalized narratives. He inspired a whole generation of Middle East reporters who revelled in his beautiful stories and were pushed to transcend the seemingly inescapable politicization of reporting from the Middle East. I know for sure that he inspired me.

Technology

SOPA and the Arab start-up

Anyone that opened the Internet today to look up a word/idea/event/good-looking celebrity they had too little information about will have heard about SOPA. That’s because Wikipedia, arguably the number one source of information to all typing-reading beings, has shut down for a day, forcing us to Imagine a World Without Free Information.

CONTACT US

INFO@KNOOZROOM.COM

+961 71 107 833

HAMRA - BEIRUT, LEBANON