Year of Teddy
Sultan Gallery, Kuwait
365 day blog, 365 photographs, 7 videos, archive of objects collected over the year, magazines and newspaper article's featuring Teddy B., a publication.
Between 2005-2011 blogging in Kuwait was a popular medium widely used to create online zines or forums. They would act as broadcasting stations or a filing cabinet for reviews and announcements. The amount of visitors encouraged companies to sponsor these blogs, depending on their popularity, by paying them a fee to add an animated widget of their company's logo. The viewers would follow certain bloggers to get informed on events around town, watch curated YouTube videos, read reviews on cars, find out the latest fashion, etc.
The blog 'www.yearofteddy' was created as a personal and social experiment, researching and commenting on class, culture, odd traditions, strict religion and political events both local and regional. The teddy bear used in each image developed a character by the name of Teddy B. and was documented for 365 days. Each day one photograph post would be published, positioning Teddy within a scenario, followed by a caption below. Being an endearing universal object, the stuffed bear was excused for its observations and critiques.
The bear began acting as a social buffer, allowing interactions with the viewers through open comment boards. Views were openly discussing and debating the photograph of the day, whether it was about the slums developing around the airport or the results of a football match. The blog maintained moderate controversy due to the artist's anonymity behind the bear. The daily blogging experience became challenging as each post had to develop honestly from its predecessor.
After four months the website was sponsored by a telecom company, a bank and a food chain. In parallel it would freely advertise a charitable cause. Two months later the blog was rated one of Kuwait's top 10 blogs and the news was announced with a facelift of the website. The bear was featured on AlJazeera Airline's inflight magazine as well as multiple regional blogs and magazines. Teddy B. was invited for an interview on a popular local radio station and presented at Pecha Kucha Kuwait and Dubai. The last day of the blog announced an exhibition at a local gallery displaying a year of images and objects. The proceeds of the project were donated to help build a new roof for and orphanage in Kuwait.