(1995 - 2013)
Barakunan is a multifaceted production involving literature, audio, and film. Striving to coexist as a multichannel platform that dishes out content in various media forms, the publishing house, and media collective has taken its first few steps in the world, launching early this year. “I want to believe some things can last and can outlive their early hype, if only for the nobility of their practice. Some institutions have—those that stand for something in our increasingly divided, commercially inclined industries have been successful. Integrity destroys cultures of consumerism,” co-founder Dani Arbid tells me. The question isn’t what they’ve done already, but what they’re going to achieve in the next few years if their intentions are to be believed. Originally inspired as an intellectual property franchise of three creatives, Dani Arbid, Sarah Huneidi, and Ramzi Hibri, Barakunan has this funny way of being nothing and everything all at once.
When you sit in on their meetings, some days you would think they were developing a think-tank, discussing the various ways Barakunan could also serve as a future incubator of ideas in a place wrestling with so many hurdles toward engagement. Other days it’s an art studio, with collaborators, mostly friends, coming in and out of the studio adding their two cents to a work in progress. They make books, but they spend most of their time working on visuals.
They discuss certain topics with a lot of emotion. Jerusalem, for instance, features heavily in the work. Co-founder Sarah, whose responsibility it is for people to comprehend the narrative makes the point, “People often forget about the narrative front. The machine does its work and we aren’t paying attention. Words have lost their meaning. Perception is everything. If we can get people to speak the same language, they can learn to perceive a similar vision.”
The stories are approachable. Their first novel was written by Zahreddine, a pseudonym used decisively by the collective. The Stranger, The Story of Sarah Shamlan, is told from the perspective of a young woman coming of age as she enacts a ritual as old as time itself- migration. While the philosophy and poetry are complicated, at times with so many references, the world that they create is captivating. “Sure, it’s fantasy, but it’s grounded in the world we know. And the world around us is dark,” Dani says. “It’s fantasy, but it’s not.” Read more