Offering a detour from the mainstream media’s monolithic narratives surrounding the Middle East, Bidoun magazine has since 2004 been producing writing and interviews as well as curatorial and educational projects that belie current conceptions of the Middle East – as a region, culture, and a fixed idea in the collective imaginary. It has since become a unique and unparalleled voice in questioning how the Middle East can be perceived, understood, and apprehended by insiders and outsiders alike.

Browsing through The New York Times or Art Forum‘s coverage of the Middle East one can stumble upon articles such as ‘Middle East Eagerly Welcomes Trends for Online Deals‘ or ‘Trading Places: the New Middle East Market.’ Contrastingly, finding one’s way around the Bidoun archive yields precious finds such as ‘Thirty-one flavors of death: Ice cream, horror porn, and the idea of Pakistan‘ by Achal Prabhala, ‘Occupy Godhead‘ by Anna Della Subin and ‘Wilkommen in Iraq‘ by Eric Schwab.

Arguably more akin to a ‘Wikileaks dump’ than an archive (dixit Bidoun themselves), one can browse the new site seamlessly and peruse past issues, whose themes span from such topics as Hair, Envy, Kids, Bazaar, Soft Power and Diaspora, to name a few. In the “Collections” section, Bidoun has asked friends and collaborators to provide guided tours of the archive that follow a personal train of thought. Keep a look out for new content and forthcoming guided Bidoun meanderings courtesy Etel Adnan, Lynne Tillman, Orhan Pamuk, and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

In Farsi and Arabic, the word bidoun means ‘without.’ We invite you to immerse yourself in with all of the preconceptions and expectations you may have about the Middle East, and leave without them.

Memes courtesy Babak Radboy.

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