Needless to say, all our dedicated fans already knows about the international fame that 2famous.TV have earned, as most of our fans are international. (Everbody is international, depending on where you see it from. We see it from Beirut, meaning that most of our fans are not in Beirut, hence they are international. *correction: they could still be from other places in Lebanon and still not be international. We meant to say “Lebanon”, not “Beirut”. So, most of our fans are from other places than Lebanon.) Like @Christina_tweets for example, Jorgen’s Twitter love from Mexico. She is way dedicated, and tweets sweet words in hard times from the other side of the world.
And if you do look to the other other side of the world, like, China and India and stuff, we probably have millions of fans! But it’s a bit hard to find them, as they use such weird letters when they write making it virtually impossible for us to google it. However, the part of the Sout East part of the world that does write in English, such as Australia, we often come across various articles about ourselves. So, to avoid any confusion, we granted this academic online magazine an exclusive interview with the two stars of 2famous.TV – Jørgen & Matias. (We actually had a fight if we were goint to write Matias & Jørgen, or the other way around, but since Matias has more followers than Jørgen on Twitter, he agreed to allow Jørgen to put his name first this time.)
Here is the interview:
WESTERN ARTISTS DEAL WITH FAME IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Two Norwegian artists who have won fame in Lebanon through their web project 2famous.tv tested public support for their work after receiving threats, writes Pablo Majluf.
Following one particularly serious threat, they went public and asked the community if they should quit. More than half those who responded expressed support for their work and they are now more committed than ever.
Documentary filmmaker Matias Carlson and plastic artist Jorgen Ekvoll initially used the site to post videos of their adventures in Lebanon with the motto “fame as pop-art”.
Now they have appeared in commercials for diverse companies across the Middle East including Pepsi, the National Bank of Kuwait, Telecom, and even Durex Condoms.
And they have been invited on popular television and radio shows.
“People greet us in pubs, bars, streets, restaurants. We’re appearing in magazines, journals, radio and television programs, and now Matias will soon act as a prophet in a major movie,” Jorgen said.
But fame comes at a price: the young artists have faced threats and intimidation.
“Religious people have rejected and threatened us, including an anti-feminist woman in Egypt and some Muslims in Lebanon. They tell us we are evil sinners,” said Jorgen.
Dr Nijmeh Hajjar, senior lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Sydney said that in the Middle East there were “certain taboos”.
“People could feel insulted with sensitive subjects like the condoms, a prophet, or Pepsi -an American company,” she said.
“It’s not a question of race, background, nationality or the fact that they’re Westerners with an innovative art project. It’s a question of the topics they depict in their commercials and videos. It’s as simple as that.”
Dr Hajjar said that because Lebanon was a relatively liberal society within the Middle East, the artists were probably not in any physical danger.
“But they are certainly in danger of attracting popular hate and could be victims of an attack from somewhere else,” she explained.
Matias said: “We construct characters, icons of ourselves, which is a Western idea, not an Eastern one. Young people love us because we bring entertainment to social and cultural subjects – a new form of art. Our followers and fans are interested in how we see the Middle East. They see their own reflection in us. We won’t stop.”