When The Lyrebird Calls
Graduation Ceremony

This video essay uses found footage to delve into the Arab military genealogy and uncover whether Kuwait’s military symbols and traditions are nationally born or inherited from colonial legacies. The premise revolves around Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, (a.k.a. “Glubb Pasha”), a British Army officer who was for many years seconded to the Arab Legion of the Trans-Jordan (later The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), which he ultimately commanded until dismissed by King Hussein in March 1956. The essay is performed by two artificial intellegence narrators, Logan and Thomas, that recite in a British accent akin to the style of British Pathé newsreels and documentaries.

The Desert Was Beautiful
Kuwait Pavilion

This video was presented as part of the sneak peek submissions for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia.

Edited by Asaiel Al Saeed, Aseel AlYaqoub, Saphiya Abu Al-Maati and Yousef Awaad
Narrating by Lieutenant Abdulaziz Al-Jassim
Sound by Franco Caviglia

A Hundred Soldiers Somersaulting

This film attempts to draw a messy and complex narrative into focus using existing archival footage, and in doing so perhaps bring forth some questions on whether a consistently threatened nation should focus on peaceful diplomatic efforts, strengthen its military, or both.

Edited by Aseel AlYaqoub
Sound by Franco Caviglia
Translation by Nancy Qunqar
Animation by Aseel AlYaqoub, Nikola Bilanovic

Semiotics Of War In The Kitchen

During the Gulf War, Kuwaitis witnessed Iraqi soldiers in gas masks, which ignited rumours of a potential chemical attack. In a desperate response, the Kuwaiti 'Underground Resistance' (al-moqawama) distributed formulas for DIY gas masks through leaflets and word of mouth. In this video performance, the artist uses her mother's instructions to recreate make-shift gas masks from cloth and wool in the same kitchen her family once did. The result is juvenile and dysfunctional, a realisation everyone had made after stitching over a dozen face covers.


This video stages a Whatsapp group conversation between British Political Agents John More (Kuwait), Sir Percy Cox (Bushire), Arnold Wilson (Baghdad) and Major Dickson (Bahrain) with Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah (Kuwait), Sheikh Hamad AlKhalifa (Bahrain) and King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud (Saudi Arabia). The conversation is an adaptation of telegrams, letters and notes found in the Qatar Digital Library regarding the dispute between King Ibn Saud and the Sheikh of Kuwait. The information is archived under the British Government's proposals to settle the Kuwait-Nejd boundary dispute by Arbitration, the defeat of Sheikh Salim at Jahrah, the Ikhwan withdrawal and the truce termination by Ikhwan. John More gives accounts of the Battle of Jahrah (1920) via urgent telegrams to his P.A. peers. Eventually, the British bombed and dispersed the Ikhwan to protect Kuwait from the tribe.

delete.tv Award

To censor in Arabic is translated into Raqabbah (to watch or oversee) rather than to assess, edit or suppress unacceptable material. Using censorships translatability the film consists of three segments: the act of watching, being watched, and the ‘overseeing’ of the self. This progression is elicited by an interaction with an Egyptian security guard, a migrant worker who has his own restrictions to contend with.


Ushering its transition towards modernity, a series of acquired Master Plans transformed Kuwait's physical and social environment. The plan called for the demolition of old Kuwait to pave way for a new state capital. Today only five gates remain and have recently been revived as monuments of a recent past. They are considered to be heritage sites albeit being surrounded by highways and infrastructure Through the collection of local Kuwaiti street art, the gates are subversively vandalised in post-production. The video reinterprets these sites as canvases for visual expression, demoting their significance and authenticity.

The Chicken Nugget Alliance

In this satirical video performance, the artist becomes a signifier for change, proposing naive reforms for social and political change as the 'Chicken Nugget Alliance candidate'. The derogative term 'chicken nugget' is used to mock private school groups' proficient use of the English language over the native tongue; brown on the outside, white on the inside. The video went viral during the 2012 parliamentary elections in Kuwait, two years after the Arab Spring. At the time, Kuwait experienced intense uproar through youth-led street protests, corruption charges that implicated thirteen members of parliament, the storming of the National Assembly to protest the corruption, the dissolution of the parliament by the Emir and the resignation of the embattled prime minister. In addition, the elections of 2012 resulted in the empowerment of a loose Islamist-tribal coalition of opposition candidates that disappointed the politically liberal. Despondent moderates surveying the outcome repeatedly complained that "nobody is representing the middle".

ⓒ Aseel AlYaqoub, 2022