The State Vol IV: Dubai. Rahel Aima, Ahmad Makia (Eds.). The State.

Posted in art, history, politics, writing on November 8th, 2013


The State Vol IV: Dubai. Rahel Aima, Ahmad Makia (Eds.). The State.

In Kerala, a term exists for people like my parents, bandied by neighbours and relatives – Gulf return. Always used in the singular, it is a term associated with privilege, a term for the once-insider who will die an outsider. It accentuates the success story, pretending to know and define those who, out of desperation, adventure or marriage, left their homes to seek work, and now return to expected social glory and envy.—Deepak Unnikrishnan, “Gulf Return,” Himal (December 2010)

A few months ago, we found ourselves sitting in a blush-walled room in the grey area between Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, Kerala. We were in a Gulf Return house on a Gulf Return street, in a town built with Gulf Return money. Just a short ferry ride away was a Dubai Ports World terminal; right on our doorstep, at the nearby Kunnumpuram Junction, was a UAE Xchange outpost, and an ice cream parlour selling Sharjah Shakes. We had left Dubai, with the intention of producing this issue looking at it from across the Arabian Sea, but everywhere we looked, Dubai was all around us.

Can you ever leave Dubai?

In the last year, we’ve produced THE STATE from Madagascar, Portugal, the US, India, and the UAE. Thus far, we’ve been thinking of this publication as placeless, rooted only in the nebulous printernet. Turns out we’ve been trying to figure out Dubai—this strange, wonderful, occasionally traumatic place we grew up in—all along. (Jury’s still out on whether that trauma was due to Dubai, or just the turbulence of adolescence.) The thing is, we are the children of Gulf Returnees ourselves. We didn’t leave our home countries to come here; Dubai’s the only home we’ve ever known. Yet most narratives of Dubai focus on its extremes—solar-sintered skyscrapers made from sun, sand and glass or the unknown labourers that built them; unbridled admiration for its visionary transformation or vitriolic, xenophobic schadenfreude; searing desert heat or lush, landscaped golf courses. As residents-but-not-citizens, we’re paradoxically privileged, yet invisible; our stories remain as yet untold.

Our first questions linger. How do you speak a place, or from a place? Can cultural production have terroir? What does it mean to be a publication from Dubai that has thus far evaded ever actually addressing its positionality head on? Consider this a first attempt.


The State Shall Remain Nameless
Manan Ahmed Asif
An Arabikatha
Deepak Unnikrishnan

Teaching Moments in Dubai
Ayesha Mulla

Remembering My Narrow Veins
Maryam Wissam Al Dabbagh

Sharjah Smells Like Biscuits
Sophie Chamas

5,000 Kilometres of Evocations: Bombay – Dubai – Mumbai
Nilofar Ansher

Aesthetics of Disempowerment
Sheyma Buali
Memory Images from Dubai
Ben Thorp Brown

Speculations and Questions on Dubaization
Fadi Shayya

Indelible Marks: Africa’s Traces On Dubai
Jareh Das

A Drone’s Eye View of the Speculative Future
Manuel Schwab

The Brown Apple
Jaswinder Bolina

Language: English
Pages: 140

Price: €12.00

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The State Vol III: The Social Olfactory. Rahel Aima, Ahmad Makia (Eds.). The State.

Posted in books, history, politics on November 8th, 2013


The State Vol III: The Social Olfactory. Rahel Aima, Ahmad Makia (Eds.). The State.

THE STATE is a publishing practice based out of Dubai, U.A.E. It investigates South-South reorientations, alternative futurisms, transgressive cultural criticism, the transition from analogue to digital, and the sensuous architecture of this “printernet.”


Khairani Barokka—Can the Subaltern Smell: The Olfactory Other
Transnational olfactory stereotypes in Indonesia, India, South Africa, and the USA

Ali Boggs—The Corpse
A dead girl in Madagascar, an old pastis-soaked Belgian, and the loose skin of overripe peaches

Suzanne Fischer—Smell H-I-S-T-O-R-Y: A Guided Tour of the Smell Exhibition
In the coming age of olfactory archaeology, a speculative tour of the museum of tomorrow

Adam Flynn—Under the Iron Snout: a First Take on Olfactory Imperialism
Drug-sniffing dogs, fermented fish and mosquito repellent in Vietnam, the Stasi’s smell archives, People Sniffing, and strategies to survive smellveillance

Mary-Jo Gillian—Heap
A residency in a rural Irish landfill, the filamentine heat of rotting matter, the intimacy of olfactory community

Pavel Godfrey—Sensation, Memory, and Place in Delray, Detroit
Post-industrial detritus in Little Budapest, a carbonaceous cocktail of respiratory illnesses and mnemocide, exploding the neoliberal myth of recycling

Barbara Herman—An Ode To Bodies: Peau d’Espagne
The gendering of leather perfumes, and the hidden, abject animal body at its origin

Anne Elizabeth Moore—Fake Snake Oil
Smell, trickery, and xenophobia in Marfa, Texas

Kristine Ong Muslim—The Proustian Phenomenon
A missing dog, the assertive scratchiness of lemongrass, the stench of river water, the frowning fustiness of mothballs

Charles Reid—Nietzsche and the Electric Nose
The laziness of Nature, synaesthesia, and building an electric nose

Erika Renedo Illarregi—Smell Portraits
How might a smell be archived like a polaroid or instagram?

Adam Rothstein—The Olfactographic Capacities of the Human Brain
Smelling the traces of architecture and mapping odourous urban geographies

Francisco Salas Pérez—Impeccable Tenderness
Papayas in Xalapa, the displaced remembrances of diaspora, and escaping the Proustian straitjacket

Manuel Schwab—Petroleum, Frankincense, and Myrrh
A souk in Nyala, Sudan, a lake of petroleum, and the carnivorousness of the development-industrial complex

Mark West—The Smell of OCD
The insidiousness of burning toast, and the creeping doubt of OCD

Language: English
Cover available in one of four colors.
Printed in Dubai.

Price: €22.00

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