Biography

10 commentsFamily,Writing

My friends and busi­ness part­ners have been egging me on to update my port­fo­lio and web­site, and today Samsam remind­ed me that I owe my copy­writer Hala a bio out­line. Samsam sound­ed like she’d come over and beat me with a stick if I didn’t get it done today.

Since I didn’t want to piss her off (and because I bruise eas­i­ly), I prompt­ly got to work. The bio now resides in beta form in the About sec­tion of this blog (until Hala spins her mag­ic on it), but some­one (Samsam again) sug­gest­ed I post it as a sto­ry as well.

So here it is. Read it if you like, and I apol­o­gize in advance. :)

Meedo Taha (me)

Meedo Taha

Architect & Filmmaker | Biography [beta]
Born February 7, 1976

1975 — Start of the Lebanese War.

1976 — Born in Beirut Lebanon to Assad (med­ical stu­dent) and Mona (9 years his junior).

1977 — Meedo’s 3 mem­ber fam­i­ly moves to Edgware UK for father’s stud­ies.

1978 — First mem­o­ry of walk­ing up a hill with his moth­er to Nursery school.

1979 — Ginger broth­er Tarek born 2 months pre­ma­ture (Meedo watch­es through deliv­ery room win­dow as he is pulled out with for­ceps).

1980 — Family returns to Lebanon, where Meedo can only speak English and feels many secrets are kept from him.

1981 — Begins Kindergarten in Lebanon one year ahead of his age but rapid­ly falls in love with Joanne and rapid­ly regress­es to stu­pid­i­ty.

1982 — First kiss. Teased to no end. Bullies his friends and his Mom is called into school sev­er­al times. Is the sec­ond kid in his class to learn to read. In the mean­time, Israeli inva­sion keeps his fam­i­ly and coun­try occu­pied. Family moves out of grand­par­ents’ house and into AUB Alumni apart­ments. Best friend is next door neigh­bor Christine. They play doc­tor and Meedo dis­cov­ers that girls and boys are dif­fer­ent. Father teach­es him how to burn a news­pa­per with a mag­ni­fy­ing glass and saves him after get­ting him­self stuck at the top of the mon­key bars in the building’s play­ground. One day he uses his new tape recorder to make a com­plete record­ing of a polit­i­cal debate his father and his friends were hav­ing, and is pun­ished and made to record over it with two hours of silence as he watch­es. Meet first for­eign sol­dier and become friends. Soldier soon killed in com­bat.

1983 — Family moves to Makhoul Street a few blocks away. Father buys Meedo every Texas Instruments toy there is, but his favorite is Speak and Spell (as fea­tured in ET), whose bleep bleep music he imi­tates all day. Every time door­bell rings, Meedo dives onto the sofa and hides his face into the cush­ions hop­ing it’s his father, who then comes and lifts him up. Goes with fam­i­ly to Los Angeles. Stays at Peter Pan Motel. One day can’t find Dad so he trips the fire alarm and every­one runs out. Hotel Manager not pleased.

1984 — Family moves to Mar Elias into build­ing that only a month lat­er becomes cen­ter of oper­a­tions for Walid Jumblat Militia. Second love, Sharon at IC. Meedo picks up garbage to impress her. Then he learns girls pre­fer macho to sweet. Asked by school to skip ahead one lev­el but fam­i­ly refuse. Brother Jad is born. Mom prob­a­bly want­ed a girl because she grows his hair and knots it into pig­tails. He cries a lot. Meedo is his art teacher’s favorite stu­dent. He cares about lit­tle else. Still man­ages good grades though.

1985 — Building is trans­formed into major artillery ware­house and park­ing lot is pro­tect­ed with hills of sand. Meedo and friends use them as mole­hills and have lots of filthy fun. His best friend is Obada. One day while play­ing hide and seek with him Meedo is hit by a car (after decid­ing not to look both ways to save time run­ning back) and goes fly­ing high and lands on hood. No major injuries. But the car is totaled.

1986 — Meedo becomes leader of South Street local gang (after being their most cow­ard­ly mem­ber) and major adver­sary to Danny (leader of North Street gang). He’s also star goalie in park­ing lot foot­ball team. Takes part in BUC (now LAU) dra­ma class ini­tia­tive. Removes ton­sils. Has tons of milk­shake dur­ing recov­ery.

1987 — Intermediate school. Major issues with admin­is­tra­tion. Teachers’ favorite, but he gives them hell (or so his class­mates remind him today). Cuts out slips of paper with “ATTENTION” print­ed on them so he can “pay it” to his teach­ers when asked. Also has his father make him a per­son­al­ized ink stamp, then brands all his class­mates’ text­books dur­ing recess.

1988 — War breaks out again. School is sus­pend­ed. Meedo and fam­i­ly move to Nabatieh. Meedo and cousin Habib break into local school, climb into stor­age and steel soc­cer balls to sell to local kids. Make some mon­ey. Learns a lot about reli­gion; decides it’s not for him.

1989 — Back in Beirut to resume school. Does home­work in his father’s clin­ic at AUH. Nothing major.

1990 — Third and final school love, Bana. Meedo learns to write poems. He is too nerdy to be accept­ed by cool group and too un-nerdy to be accept­ed by nerds. Is in social lim­bo. Mother buys him Nike Air shoes instead.

1991 — Travels to US to vis­it Uncle in Cincinnati. Has first prop­er kiss with Brigitte. Thinks it’s OK but can’t real­ly see what all the fuss is about. Attends first major league base­ball game. Has the same reac­tion as kiss­ing.

1992 — Chaperones Bana at Miss IC Pageant. Thinks she should play George Harisson’s “I Got My Mind Set on You” (classy, spot on lyrics, time­less). She choos­es David Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” (cheap, trashy lyrics, for­get­table) instead. Meedo is informed that for­mer adver­sary Danny died in freak self-inflict­ed gun-relat­ed acci­dent.

1993 — Graduates with hon­or­able men­tion. Has his heart bro­ken at prom. Becomes an adult.

1994 — Crisis at Architecture School, AUB. He hates it. Plays pranks on pro­fes­sors. Barely pass­es.

1995 — Watches Three Colors Trilogy and has his first epiphany.

1996 — Epiphany takes a seri­ous step for­wards as new fac­ul­ty mem­bers are brought in. John Biln, Mirjana Lozanovska and Marwan Ghandour give him a shock to the sys­tem. His grades sky­rock­et and he devel­ops a huge inter­est in Architecture, Film, Post Colonial Theory, Philosophy and History.

1997 — Meets Nadim Karam, his future men­tor, at AUB. Also Bernard Khoury is major influ­ence. Spends the sum­mer intern­ing in Japan. His life will nev­er be the same.

1998 — Graduates top of his class. Works briefly with Nadim Karam then moves to Japan to do his Masters. First stop, Kanazawa University for 6 months of Japanese, which he learns in 3 by skip­ping class and mak­ing local friends instead.

1999 — Moves to Fukui to do research under Professor Hidekazu Shirai of Fukui University.

2000 — Moves to Tokyo to study under Tadao Ando.

2001 — Studies con­tin­ue with Ando, includ­ing meet­ings and research with major archi­tects like Toyo Ito and Hiroshi Hara. Friendship with Nadim Karam con­tin­ues and blos­soms into men­tor­ship.

2002 — Writes his Masters Thesis enti­tled Shoma: Small Space in Tokyo and its Architecture.

2003 — Begins his PhD stud­ies and is hired by Arata Isozaki & i-Net as Project Manager.

2004 — Spends the year back and forth between Tokyo, London, Dubai and Qatar, where he con­ducts on-site meet­ings and pre­sen­ta­tions to Qatar Foundation and Sheikha Mouza.

2005 — Writes his PhD Thesis enti­tled mon­tage­space: Cinema and the Making, Un-Making and Re-Making of Architecture. Rehired as AI&I Offshore Project Manager. Moves back to Beirut.

2006 — Outbreak of Israel/Lebanon War. Moves briefly with tiny suit­case to UK on board British Naval Carrier (12 hours by sea). Spends a few months at a dor­mi­to­ry in Colchester, Essex. Flies with same suit­case to Japan to get his visa to US, then to Los Angeles to begin MFA stud­ies at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Lives out of that suit­case for two years.

2007 – Enters dual track Cinematography/Directing pro­gram under Bill McDonald and Rory Kelly. Writes, directs and shoots sev­er­al stu­dent pro­duc­tions includ­ing Mouse, Lupine and Homework.

2008 — Returns to Lebanon to work on his Thesis project. Brother Tarek gets mar­ried and moves to Indianapolis as med­ical res­i­dent.

2009 — Continues his hia­tus in Lebanon, free­lanc­ing in var­i­ous archi­tec­ture and pho­tog­ra­phy projects. Travels exten­sive­ly to UK, Europe, Middle East and US. Work on his the­sis screen­play con­tin­ues. Teaches a class enti­tled mon­tage (based on his PhD the­sis) at his alma mat­ter the Department of Architecture and Design at AUB.

2010 — Spends a month in South India at an Ashram. Launches emti­ful, an Architecture and Film col­lab­o­ra­tive with Corinne Frenzel and Suleiman Hatoum (who took the above pho­to, by the way).

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Love it :)
But you made me sound like a monster :p

Reply

Meedo May 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Yes, you are the wonderful sweet monster Sulley in my closet who always scares me into being a better person. <3

Reply

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

:))) <3

Reply

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Love it :)
But you made me sound like a monster :p

Reply

Meedo May 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Yes, you are the wonderful sweet monster Sulley in my closet who always scares me into being a better person. <3

Reply

Samsam May 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

:))) <3

Reply

Sooly, Sulley, Souly, Suleiman May 28, 2010 at 7:39 am

Aishteru.

Reply

Meedo May 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

Hahaha. x

Reply

Sooly, Sulley, Souly, Suleiman Hatoum May 28, 2010 at 10:39 am

Aishteru.

Reply

Meedo May 28, 2010 at 11:40 am

Hahaha. x

Reply

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