Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Motorbiking in Qatar

I chose to study the motor biking subculture in depth for this assignment. The reason that they are defined as a subculture is that they share the same values and interests. My interest in this subculture had grown since I had more time to look into this subculture and focus on other elements such as interviewing the motorbike riders. The places that I interviewed the motorbike riders were limited because most of them gathered in the same place. I interviewed a couple in Katara, and one by West Bay. Took photographs of the motorbikes and the motorbike riders themselves. I interviewed four motorbike riders. However, I had to have my brother with me the whole time because as a female in this society, people can look at me negatively. This addresses the gender issue in Doha, how a woman is perceived in this society. A woman cannot simply approach motorbike riders alone, they might think she is making advances at them, which they consider as “flirting” and that is considered to be unacceptable for a woman to do. It was a great experience for me because I got to see the two point of views of the people towards motorbiking. The younger generation and the older generation had completely opposite thoughts on motorbikes. Mostly the older generation saw it as being deviant and the younger generation thought it was kind of “cool.”

motorbikeslast from Sara Al-Darwish on Vimeo.

Female Participation in Equestrianism

This short video shows an insight of what equestrianism means to the Qatari culture and the subculture of female riders. Female horse riders are challenging the societal gender norms in Qatar by conforming to their culture and traditions, yet at the same time, 're-fashioning' what it means to be a woman. 
We should also keep in mind that, treatment of women in Islam has changed according to the patriarchal system and solely because male scholars have interpreted most texts.  This video examines how women have accommodated their role in society and still manage to take part of equestrianism. 

Mahdiyeh from Mahdiyeh on Vimeo.

Monday, December 10, 2012

L.O.T - Rap group in Qatar.

This short video explores the work of a semester long subculture study. I am a fan of Hip Hop and chose to study the rap music scene in Qatar, more precisely a rap crew called L.O.T, which stands for Leaf of Trust. It is composed of 4 young rappers from Egypt and Sudan, and their Qatari Manager.
These young rappers aim to guide society into a better and more optimistic understanding of life. They aim to do so through their music and lyrics. I studied L.O.T by observing them and interviewing them in their own surroundings, which include the home studio they record in and the Student Center in Qatar Foundation. I was very welcomed into their "circle of trust" and got to know them all on a more personal level. This video shows what I have collected from my field work, so sit back enjoy, listen, and watch rap stardom getting raised in this tough and closed minded society.

Final Video: Gym Rats in Qatar

This video explores the emerging Gym Rats and bodybuilder subculture in Doha, Qatar. It features several segments taken from in-depth interviews with different members of the subculture: Saoud, Omar, Mai, Muzammil and Coach Raymond. Interviews and filming took part in the span of a week at different gyms in Qatar including the Al Massa gym, the Recreation Center gym and the Student Center Gym. The focus is primarily on what it means to go to the gym, why people are so obsessed with the gym and why it is such a large part of their life, what they eat and what they do at the gym, and the issue of authenticity and steroids. This video serves as a parallel to my final paper that focuses on the question of how gym rats establish themselves as legitimate members of the Gym Rat subculture in terms of performance practices and authenticity.

Gym Subculture from Caitlin Sewell on Vimeo.

Final Project: The Mother Punchers

This semester we were instructed to observe a subculture in Qatar. The subculture I observed were a group of metal heads; people who have a passion for metal music. The metal heads proved to be a subculture because they stood out and apart from the larger culture in Qatar. Also, they have sets of ideals, beliefs and practices that differ from the dominant culture. The subculture consisted of seven members. However, in the multimedia project I focused on one of the members and his activities. The subculture I studied meet up to “jam” once a week. They’re often seen as deviant by the larger culture so they’ve created a free space to hang out and unwind. I observed, took field notes, attended jamming sessions and interviewed members of the subculture. For my final project I focused on how the subculture resist the culture in Qatar. They resist through playing music, writing songs, dress and alienation. They subculture are aware that some people associate them with being devil worshipers and/or troublemakers. Do to the clash between their way of living and the conservative culture in Qatar the subculture feel shunned out. Although the project took me out of my comfort zone I’m fortunate to have interacted with such a great group of people who have taught me a lot.

J pop in Qatar

Through out the semester in my Youth Culture in The Middle East class, we were asked to locate a subculture. In a country as small as Qatar, one would be surprised to find subcultures such as the one I made the clip below about. They are a group of girls who are dedicated to their interest in Japanese manga, anime, Japanese Drama and music! As a result they study Japanese in order to understand what their favorite characters or singers are saying. Through their consumption of Japanese pop and their studies of the Language at Qatar Easter Language Center, the girls adapt Japanese style and manners. I hope this video that was shot at the center and at Dana’s house, one of the subculture members, would give you an idea about how the subculture is.
Try to enjoy it!

Subculture Project: Women's Cricket Team

This video is about the Qatar National Women's Cricket team. For the project, we studied the interactions, the performance practices and the cultural resistance of this small group of female Cricket players in Doha. The video was shot at the Qatar Cricket Association's (QCA) Cricket ground, that is located in the Industrial Area in Qatar. We attended a practice session and a championship game to collect our material for this particular video. We focus on the various different performance practices such as the dressing, the language and styles etc and we also look closely at the means of cultural resistance. i.e. form, medium, interpretation and the activity. It's interesting to see how the styles and actions of the team in some ways really unique to themselves and the interactions that they have despite their varied backgrounds are really interesting to watch. Also note the relationships that exist within the team and the interaction between the coaches and players in the video. Hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Heavy Metal in Pakistan - Final Class Project

Heavy Metal in Pakistan - Final Project from Hassan Asif on Vimeo.

This video features three of the active underground heavy metal acts in Pakistan: Dionysus (Lahore, Death/Doom Metal), Takatak (Lahore, Groove Metal) and BlackHour (Islamabad, Thrash Metal). The video includes small extracts from the in-depth interviews conducted over a period of one year. In addition to these three bands various other heavy metal performers and online bloggers were interviewed to give this study a well-rounded approach. I also attended various performances and jam sessions of these bands. This research aims at studying how heavy metal is re-contextualized in Pakistan as a genre and as a social phenomenon. The analysis that is conducted in the written paper shows that, heavy metal music in Pakistan is essentially elitist in character and these musicians adopt/prefer this genre over other available options primarily because of its foreign-ness. These performers treat heavy metal as a labor of love, with no possible economic, or even cultural gains. The distinctly non-local nature of this kind of music allows the Pakistani youth, both performers as well as the audience, a means to craft and perform temporary alternate identities in the highly polarized Pakistani culture. In case of heavy metal, “foreign-ness” first restricts the access to the genre to a particular social class on the one hand, and re-contextualizes and transforms it during reproduction in an alien land on the other hand.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mighty Jokerz

During the Doha Tribecca Film Festival, we came across a group of very talented B-Boys. After talking to them some more, we realized their lifestyle really defines what a subculture is. Check out our video below to learn more about the B-boys and B-girls that make up the Mighty Jokerz: