Couqley French Bistro in Dubai

Couqley is a rustic French bistro with authentic old school Parisian flair. Outside, the exterior beckons with frosted windows printed with fabulous bistro style red letters. Inside, Couqley boasts a long zinc bar and cool looking replica bistro artefacts. The red chequered table cloths, dark wood hues and the smoke effect mirrors add to the warm bistro charm.

When it comes to the food at Couqley, you could not expect a more generous use of traditional French cuisine ingredients. You can really taste it – the garlic, butter and parsley sauce escargots we have to start are superb. The retro prawn and avocado cocktail is fresh and beautifully dressed.

For mains, we are absolutely bowled over by the steak frites and the rib-eye. The magic of the cuisson of the steak is almost puzzling. The rib-eye really melts like butter and tastes so flavoursome. The frites also have their say: perfect French fries, skinny, slightly crunchy and salted à point. They are everything you need to mop up Couqley’s house sauce – a delicious secret recipe.

Desserts are also a must. The traditional crème brulée and mousse au chocolat, with real chunks of dark rich chocolate, really hold their own.

Even the bread at Couqley deserves a special mention. It is the best French baguette we have ever tasted outside of France. No surprise there – it is shipped from France in its pre-cooked dough and cooked on the premises. It is presented in red napkin chequered baskets, perfectly warm and fluffy – un délice!

You can really sense the influence Alexis Couquelet’s teacher’s chefs Alain Ducasse and Jean Georges has had on this Lebanon-based Frenchman’s cuisine. It is energetic, authentic and tastes divine.

Couqley’s service is 5 stars with attentive, knowledgeable and mostly bilingual French staff. We look forward to returning to sample the signature pain perdu – deliberately left for our next trip as its legendary reputation precedes it already!

You Won’t Believe These Exiting Places Actually Exist

Here are 10 adventures which you have to add to your list…

  1. Hike to Glacier Point vista in Yosemite National Park, California.

Glacier Point is an overlook with a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and High Sierra. It is located 30 miles from Yosemite Valley, with the road ending at Glacier Point (it is a short walk to the viewpoint). For the more experienced adventurers, from mid-December through March, cross-country skiers can experience this view after skiing 10.5 miles.

  1. Take a dip in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, Grindavík.

Submerge yourself in the world’s most stunning natural hot spring, deep within Iceland’s pure landscape. The Lagoon harnesses 9 million litres from the deepest depths of the earth, originating 2,000 metres below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. The water’s blue colour comes from one of the geothermal’s active ingredients, Silica, and the way it reflects sunlight.

  1. Raft through the Grand Canyon, Arizona.

The Spectacular Canyon has been evolving for nearly two billion years, exposing Earth’s geological history as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock. Stretching 277 miles across northern Arizona, Grand Canyon ranges in elevation from 2,400 feet to over 7,000 feet above sea level. In places, it is up to one mile deep and over 18 miles wide.

4.Go to “La Tomatina” in Buñol, Spain.

The tomato fight of La Tomatina has been a tradition in Buñol since about 1944 or 1945. However, no one is entirely sure of the exact history of this world-famous event! The food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year attracts thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to join in. It has become the ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.

5.Hike to Everest Base camp in Nepal.

The trek to Everest Base Camp has become an achievable goal for people for many who want a glimpse of the world’s highest peak. The journey will expose you to the breathtaking scenery that Nepal has to offer, with travelers to the region able to experience the unique Sherpa culture by visiting monasteries and museums along the way.

6.Take on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, Peru.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a hiking trail in Peru that terminates at Machu Picchu. It consists of three overlapping trails: Mollepata, Classic, and One Day, Mollepata being the longest. Located in the Andes mountain range, the trail passes through several types of Andean environments including settlements, tunnels, and many Incan ruins.

7.Surf the Eisbach River in Munich.

Just past a bridge near the Haus der Kunst art museum, the river forms a standing wave about 1 metre high, which is a popular river surfing spot. The wave exists as the result of a mistake in German engineering when they tried to slow the flow of the Eisbach’s water, which comes from the nearby Isar River. Creating a perfect wave even when the flow is low.

8.Climb the active volcano, Cotopaxi in Ecuador.

On a clear day, Cotopaxi is clearly visible on the skyline from Quito and is part of the chain of volcanoes around the Pacific Ring of Fire. It has an almost symmetrical cone that rises from a highland plain of about 3,800 metres, with a width at its base of about 14 miles. It is also home to one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world.

9.Hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti, Tanzania.

The Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest national park and is famed for its annual migration when some six million hooves cross the open plains. The park covers 5,700 square miles of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands.

  1. Drive across Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, Bolivia.

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is considered one of the most extreme and remarkable vistas in all of South America, if not Earth. Situated amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, the salt flat’s legacy comes from a prehistoric lake that went dry. Leaving behind a desert like, nearly 4,086 square mile landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands.

Review: “the luxxury” Team London

We visited 5 Unique Places around the Globe for you

There are a variety of unique places to stay across the globe, from underwater hotels to hammocks high in the tree canopies. The tree Unique use combines the adventure of an unconventional night’s stay with a few of the luxury comforts we all enjoy. Here is our list of the world’s most amazing treehouses you can stay in.

Lion Sands, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Cost per night: $450

Placed above the savannah, The Lions Sands Game Reserve is proud to present one of its four treehouses. Here you are disconnected from electricity and without a shower but when you’re sleeping amongst zebras and lions these matters are trivial.

Treehotel, Harada, Sweden
Cost per night: From $510

The modern spaceship look-alike is a far cry away from what your typical childhood treehouse might resemble. In this hotel, you are surrounded by a pine forest, high above the forest floor, giving a whole new meaning to ‘a bird’s eye view’. With its futuristic design, it will certainly be an unforgettable night stay.


Bangkok Tree House, Bangkok, Thailand
Cost per night: From $125

The Bangkok Treehouse’s mission is to disconnect you from city life and to reconnect you with nature. This elevated oasis brings you stunningly positioned treetop rooms, as well as their more unique experience of their floating double-bed called the River Nest. Seriously, it’s just a bed on the water.


Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Cost per night: From $160

Suspended amongst intricate webs of rope, the Free Spirit Spheres really evoke the essence of sleeping amongst the treetops. These orbs will bring your childhood dreams to life, providing a luxurious and unique way to camp in the tree canopy.


Green Village, Bali, Indonesia
Nightly rate: $325

The Green Village is more of an eco-community as opposed to an actual hotel, and it may be the grandest collection of treehouse vacation homes in the world. Not limited by the usual constraint of walls, you will be sleeping in the thick of the Indonesian jungle with the luxury of a few home comforts.

Visit and text: Gernot Mueller

The Ferrari Museums Attract Record Visitor Numbers

The popularity of the Ferrari Museums continues to grow, hitting a record of more than 500,000 visitors from the start of the year to November, an increase of 12% compared to the same period last year.

As such, the previous record of more than 478,000 tickets set at the end of 2016 has been beaten, well before the end of the year.

The Museo Enzo Ferrari in Maranello/Modena, in particular, registered an annual growth of 19% in November, equivalent to 150,000 visitors, drawn by the “Driving with the Stars” exhibition that sees the Ferraris driven by stars from the sporting, cultural, industrial and entertainments worlds on display.

The Ferrari Museum in Maranello has also enjoyed significant success, with an 8% increase in visitors taking the total to 350,000. Over the course of the year, the museum has hosted the “Rosso Infinito” (‘Infinite Red’) exhibition – which is still underway – and “Under the Skin”, which has now been transferred to the Design Museum in London, running from 15 November to 15 April 2018. Sales of single tickets for both museums remain stable, representing around a fifth of the total, serving as confirmation of the superb synergy between these structures for another year. These results serve to confirm that the Ferrari Museums are among the most visited in Italy, attracting fans and enthusiasts from all over the world. They owe their appeal to the exciting attractions renewed every year, with major themed exhibitions, exhibits featuring iconic cars and original museum tours that take visitors on a journey through the history of the Prancing Horse brand.

Visit/Interview: Gigi Morelli

Would You Pay $250,000,000 To Be Here Right Now?

The 3.580m2 (38,500sqft) Bel-Air mansion is listed as the most expensive property in the U.S. With 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, and three kitchens standing at an epic 4 stories tall. Take a look for yourselves!

Who created this monster of an estate you might ask? Real estate developer Bruce Makowsky (of BAM Luxury Group). Makowsky largely builds properties for billionaire buyers, this particular property was built with no one in mind. This is the ultimate oasis! Equipt with a bowling alley, heliport, candy room and two wine cellars.

The Bowling Alley

The 4K Dolby Atmos Theater.

The 40-seat entertainment room with a 30-foot TV is the most advanced home theater in the country; and the game room may as well be the “glass room”—with glass ping-pong and Foosball tables, a $12,000 glass pool table, and glass candy dispensers. It is positively epic!

What house is complete without a candy room?

As you can see Makowsky kept recreation in mind while designing, just one of the two wine cellars on the property.

Just one of the wine cellars

Even though the home boasts these wine cellars that are stocked with the world’s finest Champagne, the 85-foot-long infinity pool outside also includes a swim-up bar and outdoor theater.

The house is built for entertaining, with this 18ft tv rising over the pool.

Oh wait, there is more!

If all these dazzling qualities weren’t enough the house also comes with 12 of the most exotic vehicles. The collection, worth $30 million, contains a one-of-a-kind Pagani Huayra, the legendary “Von Krieger” 1936 Mercedes 540 K Special Roadster (valued at more than $15 million); and 10 of the rarest, fastest motorcycles ever created.

The vehicle collection.

Where else would these rare and classic vehicles be, other than right next to the auto-lounge! With a well-stocked bar and a wide-screen tv, projecting ocean “views. To really incorporate the superyacht decor and feel throughout the home.

And when you are so exhausted from walking around your impressive estate? There is nothing like heading over to your massage suite to rest and relax.

As functional as the home is, though, the sailboat in the moat and the decommissioned helicopter on the roof serve solely as accessories—both completely unusable, but in place for no other reason another than to be a display of wealth.

So, are you convinced yet? Or is “more is more” just too much?

Interview/Visit: Gigi Morelli

Get ready – Today we show you Europe’s Top 5 Beach Clubs In 2018

Amante – Ibiza

This rural restaurant is set in a stunning cove on a cliff overlooking the Sol Den Serra bay. The backdrop is perfect for long, lazy lunches, fine dinners, and drinks in the Mediterranean breeze. Don’t miss the evenings at Amante, highlighted by the sea breezes and moonlit cliffs.

Theros Wave Bar – Santorini

This elegant Mediterranean spot is the perfect mix of exotic, romantic and fun. During the day, guests can take a relaxing walk along the crystal-clear water, volcanic sand and views of the massive cliffs off Eros beach. Once the sun goes down, pick a cozy spot among the bar’s many sofas, sip a famous Theros cocktail and relax.

Hula-Hula – Hvar

Looking for parties from day to night? The Hula-Hula Hvar is the place for beach-lovers to meet up and watch the sun disappear into the sea while sipping a piña colada or listening to soulful tunes. The bar is located just up the coast from the Hotel Amfora for easy access to travellers and locals alike.

Phi – Sardinia

The golden beaches at Phi offer guests to restore their well-being seaside with comfortable seating, canopies, and a lounge area to have lunch. At night, be sure not to miss the Rock Club to enjoy the best champagne, intimate dinners and live music.

Gecko Beach Club – Formentera

The Gecko Beach Club is situated on the island of Formentera. An island just next to Ibiza. Formentera is the Mediterranean’s best-kept secret with miles of secluded and unspoiled beaches and home to a vibrant and mixed community and rich history. The Gecko Beach Club is the newest and most luxurious place to stay on the island with amazing cocktails, mouth-watering food, and a relaxing haven to lie back in a hammock whilst watching the world meander by.

Text and Photos: Gigi Morelli

Amilla Beach Residences | A Luxurious Maldives Getaway

Step into paradise and get a taste of heaven on earth when you set foot in one of Amilla Beach ‘s picturesque residences.

Sitting gracefully over crystal clear waters, the beautiful properties are nestled among lush tree tops or hug the shores of pristine white sand. The multi-bedroom accommodation options are ideally suited for large families, groups of friends and VVIPs seeking the ultimate in space and privacy.

The eight glorious residences are unlike you have ever seen before. They include six 4-bedroom (Villa Residences), one 6-bedroom estate (The Amilla Villa Estate) and one 8-bedroom residence (The Great Beach Villa Residence).

To cater to your every whim, each villa comes with private butlers, gourmet chef and accomplished katheeb (house master, Amilla-style.). Your personal katheeb will anticipate your every need from making a hearty breakfast, to a soothing bath after a day exploring the island’s vast marine life.  For the little ones, in-villa babysitting is conveniently arranged so that you can surrender to a full day of pampering.

The Villa Residences are an ultra-modern Miami-style architecture with stunning minimalist design, providing an intimate space to unwind and escape. Spend hours lounging by the beach beds or take a dip in the cool ocean waters.

The Amilla Villa Estate has an Asian-style structure with elegant interiors. The spacious 6-bedroom residence has enough room to accommodate a group to enjoy the beautiful amenities, including the pristine infinity pool facing the Maldivian coastline.

Best for a big group of friends or family, the Great Beach Villa Residence is the largest of the eight-hyper luxury properties creating a statement with sleek contemporary lines and gleaming marble floors. It boasts a 20m lagoon-style swimming pool and a beachside hammock that demands you to sneak a siesta and enjoy the gentle ocean breezes.

For further Info and Reservation please visit:

Welcome home to Amilla Beach Villa Residences…..

These Are The World’s Most Exclusive Hotel Suites – Take a peek inside the world’s most expensive suites

1 – Royal Two Bedroom Suite, The Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah – Dubai

The 780m² Royal Suite has been designed with an opulent colour scheme, sumptuous furnishings and exclusive amenities including a private lift and cinema. Both floors of this exquisite Suite feature sublime uninterrupted views over the Arabian Gulf. For a casual € 15.000 a night this decadent suite could be all yours.

2 – Royal Suite, Hôtel Plaza Athénée – Paris

Gaze at the City of Light from the comfort of a spacious Royal Suite and experience the best five-star hotel in Paris. Lavishly decorated with French Regency furniture, stunning antiques, and touches of silk and damask, the suite speaks to the city’s history and beauty. The view alone is worth its
€ 22.000 a night price tag, from the balconies you’ll enjoy stunning views of avenue Montaigne and the Eiffel Tower.

3 – The Royal Penthouse Corinthia Hotel – London

The ultimate London address for the ultimate price of € 25.000 a night. The two-story suite offers panoramic views over the city. Its total space comes to 465m², which includes 10-seat dining room, a grand staircase leads to two bedrooms with king-size beds and bathrooms as well as two further bedrooms. A private spa suite and hidden den to the butler’s kitchen and walk-in wine cellar.

4 – Two Story Sky Villa, Palms Casino Resort – Las Vegas

The extravagant two-story villa spares no expense. For € 25.000 at weekends and € 15.000 on weekdays, it comes complete with pool, personal glass elevator, massage room, private balcony, media room and dry sauna. With all this and more, the 300m² palace is the ultimate Las Vegas suite

5 – Amanyara Villa, Amanyara – Turks & Caicos

Amanyara – “peaceful place” – shows luxury is best served beachside and poolside. It’s € 25.000 a night villa embodies the Caribbean spirit blending indoor-outdoor living via open-air living spaces, large decks, day beds, outdoor showers, infinity pools, lush landscapes and even private reflecting ponds.

6 – Penthouse Suite, Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez, Cannes – France

At € 30.000 the Penthouse Suite of the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez is situated on the 7th floor, this prestigious 300m² suite offers a bedroom with king bed, living room & dining room and a spacious marble bathroom. The private terrace alone is 270m² boasting stunning views over the Bay of Cannes and the famous Boulevard de la Croisette.

7 – Shahi Mahal Presidential Suite, Raj Palace Hotel, Jaipur – India

If this majestic hotel – a restored ancient royal castle – is good enough for the Maharaja, it’s good enough for you. The opulent Presidential suite glimmers in gold leaf, stucco, ivory, silver, ornate mirrors and furniture, and Italian marble floors. At € 32.000 per night, the 500m² suite has six bedrooms, dining room, theatre, library and kitchen staff over four floors.

8 – Delana Hilltop Estate, Laucala Island – Fiji

The entire island is owned by Red Bull’s billionaire owner and consists of 25 villas, but this is the best. It has panoramic views of the island, free massages, horse rides on the beach all these luxuries and more could be yours for € 38.000 a night (although you need receive an invite first!).

9 – Ty Warner Penthouse, Four Seasons Hotel – New York City

The Ty Warner Penthouse is the highest hotel penthouse suite in New York City. The 400 m² space is a very cool € 42.000 a night. Complete with Panoramic windows and cantilevered glass balconies dub this “a castle in the clouds.” The lavish penthouse took 7 years and € 45 million to build. The room has its own art concierge and also a huge library, even though it only houses three.

10 – Royal Penthouse Suite, Hotel President Wilson – Geneva

At € 65.000 a night, the Royal Penthouse Suite at Geneva’s Hotel President Wilson is the most expensive hotel room in the world. Guests are not left wanting for much: the suite has 12 bedrooms and 12 marble bathrooms, plus a wraparound terrace with views of the Alps that have been said to move a handful of famous musicians to song (there’s a Steinway piano, should the backdrop not be enough).

11 – Owner’s Villa, Cheval Blanc Randheli – Maldives

Those all-important three little words “price on request”, need we say more about the private island and villa. The Owner’s Villa sprawls across its dedicated island and is accessible from a private berth and jetty. This four-bedroom villa is the epitome of exclusive privacy with unique facilities including its own spa, oversized 25-metre long outdoor pool, pristine beaches and exotic gardens.

Story: Gigi Morelli

Art Dubai Announces the Full Programme for the 12th Edition of the Global Art Forum

Art Dubai has announced the full programme for the 12th edition of the Global Art Forum, taking place in two sessions in February and March this year. Entitled ‘I Am Not A Robot’, the current edition of the Forum will explore the highly topical theme of automation – as well as the opportunities and trepidations brought along with it.

Part of Art Dubai’s extensive cultural programming, the Global Art Forum is an annual arts conference – the largest in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia – and unique in that it examines culture from a variety of disciplines as well as in bringing together leading minds from a variety of fields to discuss a specific topic. Both sessions of the Global Art Forum are open to the public and free to attend.

The opening session of the Global Art Forum 2018 will take place on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at Dubai Design District, introducing some of the key themes of ‘I Am Not A Robot’, in a series of talks, presentations and discussions with Shumon Basar, Noah Raford, Marlies Wirth and acclaimed artist/writer James Bridle, who Buzzfeed ranked 3rd in its list of “11 Tech Heroes of 2017 who aren’t CEOs”.

The Forum will continue at Art Dubai from Wednesday, March 21 – Friday, March 23, 2018 for its acclaimed three-day marathon, exploring the impacts of automation, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning in work, creativity, design, economics, politics and art. Some of the pressing questions posed are: “Is there a Non-Western model of AI?”, “Will the blockchain build a new Internet?”, “What makes us human in an increasingly non-human world?”, and “What are machines saying about us behind our backs?” In addition to lectures, conversations and discussions, there will be performances and a rich cinema-screening programme by Cinema Akil.

The 2018 iteration of the Global Art Forum is organized by Commissioner Shumon Basar, with with Chief Operating Officer and Futurist-in-Chief of the Dubai Future Foundation Noah Raford, and Curator of Digital Culture & Design Collection at the MAK, Vienna, Marlies Wirth, as Co-Directors.

Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3).


Wednesday 14 February | Dubai Design District, between Building 8 and 9


By Global Art Forum Commissioner Shumon Basar and Co-Directors Noah Raford and Marlies Wirth


Shumon Basar

Cinema — that 20th century mass art form — provides one of the most fertile settings for history’s enduring experiments with man-made women. Shumon Basar outlines a brief genealogy and draws upon examples from the films Metropolis, Alphaville, Blade Runner (and its recent sequel Blade Runner 2049), Ex Machina and a few Scarlett Johansson-led titles. What are the cultural and psychological values invested in cinema’s female robots? And why are men so scared?


Noah Raford

According to some, we are within a decade of the arrival of artificial general intelligence; machines so powerful that they can do anything a human being can, but faster, better, and more accurately. How will we handle the arrival of such a phenomena? How might this impact our world and what ways should we be thinking about possible responses? This whimsical talk explores serious issues through the lens of aliens, international relations, and medieval diplomacy to help us better understand the landscape we may face in the future.


Marlies Wirth

Hello Robot and Artificial Tears were two recent exhibitions in Vienna, which dealt with the complex issues around automatization. Hello Robot looked at how design shapes our relationship with technology and with each other. Artificial Tears took a science-fiction position: asking what makes us “human” in this day and age, or if we are “artificial” after all. Co-curator Marlies Wirth talks us through both shows, and how these kinds of technologies are increasingly entering museum space in unexpected ways.


Artist and Writer James Bridle, hosted by Shumon Basar, Noah Raford and Marlies Wirth

How are artists engaging with technologies of automation, as well as the ever increasing automation of the world? With a background in linguistics and Artificial Intelligence, the artist James Bridle has dealt with predictive big data, drones, and the ethical problems posed by YouTube. Here, he discusses his ideas and work, and the social and political concerns facing the current moment.

Wednesday 21 March | Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Fort Island


Shumon Basar with Noah Raford and Marlies Wirth

2:15-2:45pm | I AM AI LECTURE

Media Theorist Paul Feigelfeld

What are the apocryphal histories of computing, and artificial/machine intelligence? Its obscure layers and lairs? The cryptic and alien languages it speaks? And the images it imagines but we cannot see? In this lecture, we’ll look for the Cloud at the bottom of the oceans and for platforms in the skies. We’ll travel the land of the blind and go mind jogging in China.    


Assistant Professor, Academy of Media Arts Cologne Mi You, National Technology Officer Microsoft China Ltd. Qing Wei, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Autonomous University of Barcelona Jordi Vallverdú, hosted by Noah Raford

How do intelligence, cognition, and concepts of the self vary across cultures (and species)? How might this influence the development of AI? From robot monks in Japan that hold perpetual prayers, to octopus consciousness and multi-bodied minds, the creation of perceiving machines will reflect deeply on our sense of self, and indeed, life itself.



Writer Mishaal Al Gergawi with Head of Research, Dubai Future Foundation Jessica Bland

Work titles are our insignia, our shared points of societal reference. How will the “unnecessary rest” begin to define themselves if the rich eventually fund basic income? Communism tried to eliminate economic hierarchy only to replace it with a power-based hierarchy. What will artificial intelligence replace the social order of work with? VR-for-life may not be enough. Do Gulf States have a head start?


Product and Interaction Designer Simone Rebaudengo with Noah Raford

AI will take many forms in the future, from self-selling disposable goods to terrifying, continent-wide minds that shape entire industries. How will these minds interact with our everyday goods and experiences? Will it be awesome, annoying, or awful? A pantheon of negotiation, a paradise of domination, or a compound of complication?


Artist, Writer and Trend Forecaster Emily Segal

“Hyperstition” was a term coined in the 1990s to describe fictions that make themselves true – a form of automation in their own right. This lecture presents new research from the think-tank Nemesis that recasts the concept of Hyperstition in the contemporary moment, mapping the architecture of hype and its vectors of development.


Artists Rokni, Ramin Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian, Yuri Pattison and Ania Soliman, hosted by Writer Melissa Gronlund

How are artists engaging with technologies of automation, as well as the ever increasing automation of the world? What new kinds of aesthetics, experiences and knowledge emerge? From interactive puppetry to robot choreography via the unconscious intent of algorithms, these artists discuss their ideas and work, and the complex concerns facing the current moment.

Thursday, March 22 | Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Fort Island


Shumon Basar with Noah Raford and Marlies Wirth


Artist and ‘Private Ear’ Lawrence Abu Hamdan with Artists Katja Novitskova and Pamela Rosenkranz, hosted by CTO Serpentine Galleries London and Initiator unMonastery Ben Vickers

How are artists engaging with technologies of automation, as well as the ever increasing automation of the world? What new kinds of aesthetics, experiences and knowledge emerge? From aural surveillance to neuropharmacology via the sculptural qualities of Internet images, these artists discuss their ideas and work, and the accelerated textures of the present moment.


Music Producer and Artist Fatima Al Qadiri and Shumon Basar

Long before Artificial Intelligence arrived, technology has often been framed as a supernatural force. There are maybe more “ghosts in the machine” now than there are human beings in the world. Fatima Al Qadiri’s work, too, is haunted by many things. A Kuwaiti childhood during the first Gulf War shaped a sonic sensibility, which in turn has produced music redolent of war video games and a spirit world. She discusses the links between sound and memory, djinn and the digital.


Artist and Architect Alessandro Bava with Designer Simone Niquille and Artist and Writer Patricia Reed, hosted by Marlies Wirth

Supranational structures (Google, Amazon, Alibaba) preside over our knowledge and technology. They cunningly manipulate the masses with the use of self-learning algorithms and streamlined filter bubbles. But should our major societal decisions be given over to what Hito Steyerl has described as “Artificial Stupidity”? As we increasingly inhabit responsive environments that attempt to predict our wishes and desires before we even have them, this discussion identifies the shifts in personal and political dynamics, and the role of human agency in a non-human world.


Artistic Director Serpentine Galleries London Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ben Vickers

The 2017 Marathon, entitled “Guest, Ghost, Host: Machine!,” brought together artists, scientists, activists, engineers, poets, sociologists, philosophers, filmmakers, writers, anthropologists, theologians and musicians to consider the advent of “artificial intelligence,” consciousness, interspecies cooperation, trans-humanism and non-linear time. The Marathon sought to illuminate the ways in which these fields of exploration leave unrecognizable traces and unknowable apparitions in the present.


Theorist Jaya Klara Brekke with Architect and Musician Martti Kalliala, hosted by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ben Vickers

The blockchain is a database validated by a global community and backed by code/math, rather than a central authority. Many claims are made for it: from introducing a new, better Internet to disempowering centralized banks. But what does the geography of the blockchain look like? What are its politics? And what is a “Decentralized Autonomous Rave Scene?” This discussion explores the still-emerging philosophy and technology of the blockchain and the kind of world it might bring about.


Artist and Dancer Isabel Lewis and Artist Asad Raza

A playful encounter between crafters of live experience Isabel Lewis and Asad Raza using voice, text, electronic music and vocal processing. Following their open workshop earlier in the day, Raza and Lewis will address the particular agency we could and do have in our current condition as real cyborgs.

Friday 23 March | Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Fort Island


Shumon Basar with Noah Raford and Marlies Wirth


Philosopher and Writer Aaron Schuster

Why are AI’s typically portrayed in popular culture as murderous/psychotic, bent on wiping out the human race? Wouldn’t intelligent machines run the full range of human psychopathologies? Think of Marvin, the melancholic robot from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Isn’t it more likely that a hyper intelligent AI would become depressed, not aggressive? Perhaps in the future, the main role of human beings will be to minister therapeutically to depressed AIs, whose melancholic bouts threaten civilization with digital malaise and total breakdown. In this lecture, Schuster explores the “clinic of AI:” the psychopathologies of our machine intelligent future.


Cinema Akil presents a filmic framework of intersectional imagination. Sci-fi short mockumentary Last Days of the Man of Tomorrow (2017) takes a look at Lebanon’s history through the life and legend of Manivelle, an automaton gifted to the nation in 1945, making it the country’s first AI citizen. In Wanuri Kahui’s sci-fi drama Pumzi (2009), a post-apocalyptic future East Africa is visited, 35 years after World War III. Together, the two sci-fi shorts will unthink Eurocentric depictions of imminent automation. A conversation between Pumzi Director Wanuri Kahui and writer/curator Özge Calafato explores these themes deeper.

Cinema Akil at GAF12 will close with the Middle East premiere of the documentary Free Lunch Society (2017).