Arabish Typographic Hybrids in the City

Created: 12/17/12
Last Edited: 01/05/13
Arabish has become a popular way of communicating among the young generation in the UAE. It was first used as a way for Arabic speakers to communicate when ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) was the only language used in SMS and internet platforms. Arabic speakers had to adopt Latin graphemes to be able to communicate. Numerals were used to replace Arabic phonetics not found in the Latin alphabet. Although many other non-Latin script users communicated in ASCII using Latin characters like Japanese, Chinese, and Greek; Arabic users continue to use Arabish as a way to communicate even on UNICODE devices.

In this animation, Arabic letters and their English numeral replacements were created to morph into one another. The idea was to allow the animation software to render complex hybrid forms—out of the two characters—automatically without my interference. The hybrid forms were then placed against the structures of the city of Dubai.

The music for this piece was created by editing "Samai Bayati (Maqam bayati)—Classical Arabic Orchestra of Aleppo & Ahmad Hariri" and mixing it with "Dex—edIT". The idea was to create a unique hybrid sound—mixing electronic music with the Arabic Oud—that is consistent to the feel of the video.

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