GeekFest Beirut was truly a wonder to behold. There are photos on the FaceBook page from those what got Twitpicked on the night, and this Photobucket from Fady Nammour gives a pretty good feel for the ‘vibe’ – at a guess something like 120 people streamed into Beirut’s uber-funky Art Lounge to find displays of digital photography as well as the art that literally festoons every space at ArtLounge.
There were loads more GeekTalks, starting with an odd rant from yours truly, going through to an overview of Creative Commons licensing from graphic artist Naeema Zarif (Naeema designed the cool new GeekFest logo, posters and stuff) and cartoonist/blogger Maya Zankoul and then a look at some of the projects being undertaken in Lebanon by the UNDP’s CEDRO, thanks to Elie Abou Jaoudeh.
Ayman Itani spoke on the human/technology aspects of communications, while Elie Haddad’s talk on the potential of mobile applications continued the telecom theme. George El KHabbaz threw a few F’UX into proceedings with his GeekTalk on user experience (that’s what an UX is, folks) and how it needs to be designed in from the beginning of processes (Ha! Tell HSBC that).
Isaac Belot topped the geek charts easily with his in-depth and totally geeked-out presentation of the technologies that lie behind filming in 3D. That one even had the true geeks bug-eyed.
The evening finished with a short, boisterous and totally fun presentation from artiste extraordinaire (and designer of the GeekFest Twitter Icon and, I hope, T-shirts) Joumana Medlej (@CedarSeed). Joumana’s work is stunning, her cartoon strips are brilliant and the auction of a book of her early drawings and development sketches pulled in a fast and furious bidding war to top out at $300 – even the barman got into the act. Yes, there was a bar too and it did a brisk trade at that.
So what was the ‘vibe’ like? Different to GeekFest Dubai, for sure – and I can’t quite put my finger on how it was different. The Beirut guys did a lot more collaboration on many aspects of the event and so there was a wider sense of ownership. There’s no doubt that they’ve had an impact on GeekFest Dubai, particularly with the contribution of the graphic art elements, the ID design from Naeema and Joumana’s iconography.
It looks increasingly likely that there will be other GeekFest events springing up around the region now. And I think that’s possibly going to be very interesting in a number of ways that we haven’t really thought through yet!