Overview of Share Beirut

Picture this: A warehouse in the middle of an industrial area transformed into a conference room where intellectuals and Internet passionate gathered to share their Internet related stories with a very interested audience. Because that’s what SHARE is about after all: sharing ideas, knowledge and creativity.

This weekend-long event started Friday October 5th with an opening party on the roof of Solea V, a warehouse in Sin el Fil. The following days were all about conferences with speakers from all around the world, tackling various subjects such as Internet security, empowerment of individuals, censorship, diversity, creation, technology, music and science but also the absence of Internet. Indeed, Abigal H Tar, a Cuban alternative filmmaker and blogger talked about the inaccessibility of Internet in Cuba. She explained that the only way to access Internet there is through a dial-up connection (which is very expensive, 1$ per minute) and thus very few people use it.

Maya Zankoul, a Lebanese graphic designer and illustrator captured the attention of the audience with her remarkable presentation. She shared her success story explaining how she switched from a simple blog where she shared her comics about typical Lebanese anecdotes, to publishing her drawings in the form of a book that made it to the “Top 5” at Virgin Megastore!

Naeema Zarif spoke about Creative Commons, an online platform where individuals can decide to share all kind of documents they produced such as music, photos, writings etc… She explained how people can actually use any document as it is shared on that website and even modify its content to correspond their needs.

Between the speakers was also Thom Cummings, the mastermind behind Soundcloud, the revolutionary audio distribution platform. Some of the speakers even had Q&A session where people could actually discuss with them the issues they talked about during the lecture.

A corner of the venue was transformed into a “Museum of Censorship” by the Lebanese NGO March. It featured information on all kind of art things that got censored in Lebanon such as movies, music albums, books, newspaper articles, websites etc.

Next to the “Museum of Censorship”, an art exhibition featuring paintings tackling subjects such as freedom of expression and censorship took place.

At night, Solea V’s rooftop along with several well-selected clubs and alternative venues in Beirut held a musical festival where local, regional and international artists played their tunes and shared their energy.

The event ended in a very atypical way. Improv Everywhere initiative decided to do their specialty: causing a scene. Indeed, this comedic performance art group knows how to have fun without harm. After getting the instructions of the mission, attendees of the event headed to ABC (Ashrafieh) mall’s third floor and gathered in front of the cinema. They had to write a list of the top three things that makes them smile on a small pink cardboard and give it to a random person without explaining anything. Least is to say that chaos was set!