For ten years a magazine called Bidoun (which means “without” in Arabic and sounds like “to know” in Farsi) appeared roughly every once in a while, sometimes four times a year, all over the world, almost never in the same shop twice.
No printed object, especially a magazine, particularly one about the Middle East, can be published without the connivance of one or another vested interest. And yet somehow Bidoun in its first decade managed to be nothing if not inexplicable.
Presented here unbound, in one sprawling archive, the effect is transformative. The contents feel alive again; differently alive. The work feels impossibly massive, more than the sum of the 29 issues it re-presents. We feel oddly like whistleblowers, releasing thousands of documents — by turns illuminating, engrossing, perplexing — classified purely through bad distribution, a dose of disorganization, and negligible, mostly nonexistent, marketing.
Our archive is yours, too, now. So choose your own adventure. Maybe start with “Collections,” where we’ve asked friends of Bidoun to create guided tours of the content, following particular lines of thought. As we publish more original material online, Collections will meld the new and the old, inciting new dialogues, interpretations, and arguments along the way.
Thanks to everyone who has participated in the making of Bidoun — including, especially, our readers.