Portal 9 Launches in Beirut
November 8, 2012
Photographs by Mario Razzouk and Mosbah Assi

Portal 9 celebrated the release of its inaugural issue, “The Imagined,” with a free improvised music performance in the Gold Souks in Beirut Central District, Lebanon. The launch event, which took place on the evening of Sunday, November 4, 2012, drew a crowd of two hundred readers, writers, academics, architects, urban planners, and designers.

The headline performance featured Cynthia Zaven on piano, Sharif Sehnaoui on drums, Tony Elieh on electric bass, and Saadet Türkoz, a singer of Kazakh and Turkish origins who was performing for the first time in Lebanon. Creative Director Nathalie El-Mir, Editor-in-Chief Fadi Tofeili, and Managing Editor Eyad Houssami introduced the project and highlighted Portal 9’s unique commitment to publishing stories and critical writing about cities around the world in Arabic and English.

Urbanists, critics, taxi drivers, historians, linguists, philosophers, and photographers all consider “The Imagined” in Portal 9’s debut publication, which features the new capital of South Sudan; the new Royal Opera House of Muscat; modernism, Nasser, and Port Said; Turkey’s Anatolian Tiger cities; construction and the promise of Palestinian statehood; the rebuilding of Port-au-Prince after Haiti’s earthquake; Beirut through three generations; and love in Esfahan, among many other subjects.

The journal also examines how the work and legacy of major historical figures of Arab architecture, as well as those presently working in the field, have influenced and responded to a region continuously reshaped by colonization, war, oil revenue, and rampant development, with an in-depth interview with modernist architect of Baghdad Kahtan Al Madfai and lavishly illustrative pullouts that include “Reading Gaza through Dubai.”

Portal 9 will be available for sale via, on, and in Librairie Antoine in Lebanon.

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Portal 9 welcomes new writing in Arabic and English. We publish fiction, essays, reportage, criticism, conversations, academic articles, and visual essays, and we focus on the Middle East. We seek contributions from emerging writers, graduate students, and seasoned authors. Visit our submissions page for more information.
Photographs by Mario Razzouk and Mosbah Assi
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