We have attempted, in these last four years, to be anything but cliché. However, we will start this post by being cliché. We are going to start by saying that these four years have passed extremely quickly. We're also going to mention how, at the time, many cultural producers were extremely idealistic about the events occuring across the region, and people who formerly never identified as 'Arab' began embracing the idea. Although we do not consider Kalimat as a project that evolved from the euphoria that surrounded the so-called Arab Spring (we did launch about 3.5 weeks prior to the events of 17/12/2010), we continue to believe that our slogan - challenge the status-quo - is relevant now more than ever. Despite the fact that Kalimat is not about the Arab region or Arab affairs, but about providing an open space for the Arab creative to share their work, the recent events have given more weight to this very important and brief manifesto.
Now we've had a rough road. We began publishing a newsletter (Issue 01-December 2010), then a full PDF magazine online viewable on Issuu, then moved into print, and then moved back into the online space. Throughout the years, we've evolved from being a magazine that publishes quarterly, to biannually, to following the model of Emigre magazine before us (sporadically), from a team of one, to five, to two, then onto producing exhibitions and working on education and cultural projects. To answer the question that everyone always asks - no...print is not dead. But it isn't really effective either. Print, at this point in time, is not the most practical solution for a publication whose mission is to be accessible to all. Nor is being purely online. But, our experiment with the print medium is not yet over, and finding that balance between this and that is something we have been working on for some time, so stay tuned. For now, look out for us publishing an online version, which is available through VisualManiac, and with free articles on our website.
After four years, which is almost a lifetime in internet years, we are still here. Our following has grown, and we are happy that we have unique, quality followers. We want to thank those who have followed us from day one, those who signed up to our newsletter, who have contributed an article, design, or feedback, or anything, those who have ever clicked on the website, read an article, read the whole magazine, purchased the magazine or a subscription, a t-shirt, a poster, a notebook, liked our social media pages, sent us an email, donated to our IndieGogo, criticised us, mocked us, filled out our surveys, picked up our postcards, visited any of our exhibitions, asked us to be part of their event, and even those that only picked us up at the shop, leafed through the pages, only to put us back down...the list is endless. Whether you like what we do or hate it, you have contributed something to it. And any type of contribution is one that can only help this organisation evolve.
There is much more we want to say, but we will conclude with this: from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for four wonderful years. We hope that we continue running Kalimat for a long time, and that it continues on inspiring you, irritating you, providing a critical and informed view, making you think and hopefully, enticing you to act.
The Kalimat Team