Lebanese '90s television emulator: telfezion.com


Watch it: telfezion.com. It's like Nam Jun Paik on vacation in Beirut after dropping acid with a falafel chaser. Created by Nadim Kobeissi, aka @kaepora. He tells Boing Boing how the project came about, below.

Nadim says:

I grew up in Lebanon and didn't move to Montreal until I was 18. I had very strong memories of how Television in Lebanon was during my childhood in the 90's, and made telfezion.com as a project to emulate those memories as accurately as possible.

I spent days looking through YouTube/obscure Arabic websites for the footage, which is highly nostalgic Lebanese ads, political videos, cartoons that were popular in Lebanon during my childhood, etc. I've sent it to Lebanese friends - many got tears of nostalgia.

Some facts:

* "Telfezion" is how television is referred to in Lebanese Arabic
* Contains almost an hour of footage, adding more every day.
* It uses sessions and a sorting algorithm to queue the footage randomly but with proper spacing

I plan to find and add more news/political footage, as Lebanon was only beginning to emerge from a highly political 25-year civil war in the 90's.

My motive for making this site is just that it's so much fun. All my Lebanese friends recognize how valuable it is - it's so weird for them see the Internet mirror intimate and highly relevant childhood memories and I love working on that.


  1. So, it is an interesting archive .. not some fun thingamagic to throw your own video in and suddenly it is all Lebanese … (NOT Lesbian)

  2. ah, I was really hoping it was some kind of thing that played Youtube videos with a blur and muddied colors.

  3. Man, how times have changed…listening to Tribute FM radio on my iPhone…I think they are about to go live from Benghazi. I dig the music and I just find it really inspiring. Check it out if you get a chance…really cool. http://tributefm.com/player.php

  4. Nadim: get a free-to-air satellite dish. It’s crawling with stuff like this. It’s all I can get in New-Brunswick.

    That and christian evangelical broadcasts.

    And the NASA channel. At least, that one is in HD.

  5. As a fellow Lebanese who grew up during the latter parts of the war, I most heartily approve! I don’t know what I’m in awe of more, that the artist was able to find most of these clips or that the sorting algorithm he used is virtually spot on in recreating the haphazard charm of wartime, C-rated TV*.

    *For added realism, the artist should only make the clips available for 3-4 hours a day, which is about how much electricity the average Lebanese got each day during the war, if they were lucky. Even in this day and age, during the summer months when the tourists are bustling around Beirut and using more wattage, electricity is still rationed, and very expensive.

    1. I lived in northern Israel for 9 months in 1985, and I remember the Lebanese after-school cartoons being particularly bizarre.

      The one that stands out for me was a bible cartoon called “Superbook” that apparently had some kind of editorial stance against saying the word “bible,” since “superbook” was used as an actual noun instead.

      Oh yeah, and the premise was that a bible fell off some kid’s shelf and hit the computer, so him and his friends were sucked in Tron-style to a world of computerized bible stories.

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