Apr-May 2018
The International University of Beirut
Beirut Campus

To unfamiliarize the familiar in a comprehensible approach of a city as illogical as Beirut, certainly is a step beyond mass production of false iconography and nostalgic history. Beirut is mon amour, a beating heart of multidisciplinary scholars determined to discuss a conceptual perception of Beirut. Surely the recovery of the past, the destruction and the near future interpretation are all influential when delineating the capital portrait. Between the outer necessity and the inner necessity, Beirut remains mon amour.

19.04.2018 – 18:00
talks / discussion panel

Moderated by

Ms. Amal Bohsali
Archeologist / Visual Artist

Amphitheatre – Block D

Ms. Lina Ezzeddine
Interior Designer/ Visual Communicator

Beirut Labyrinth

Moving through the city in the designed circuits of streets and avenues where each had taken a name printed on a delicate dark blue sign brings some of the natural and humanized aspect of Beirut. Although the change dynamism of newly constructed buildings, side by side, superimposed concrete of hideous consumption and aesthetic malfunction assault the human eye. Very few ‘Beiruty’ houses remain, dwarfed and shy under the hidden coastal sun. Some are abandoned to decay, less and less green, more and more hazed grey to walk through, a mist of silt, a suffocating labyrinth and a maze of people without names alienate, yet intrigue the walker.

When an interior designer questions the urban environment of Beirut in its peculiar details, when the blue signs turn into a passion of solving enigmas, only then the answers to the questions might be answered. Who are the people behind street names? What legacy do they leave us? When were the names given? And why are the past names falling into oblivion?

Mr. Fadi Ghazzaoui
Historian/ Researcher

Seeking Beirut

A family photo neatly inserted in a well preserved album, depicting a handsome gentleman, a wife, and children posing in a classical composition. The faces did not fade away, nor did their eye sight. The black and white print shows so little the impact of time, yet the creamy white paper shifted to a light sepia. The people are gone. It all started with the family tree, a personal inquiry and an attitude towards once loved ones. Amin the grandfather and some of his unrevealed stories. From the personal to the more general, the city they once lived in, Ras el Nabeh to the city we still live in.The search started leaving behind a career in advertising and design. The leap from the crowded market into this venture in research is but thrilling. A real bliss.

Between past photographic collections, meeting with the elderly, listening to their stories, gathering information and noting all the spoken and written words, the research turned into a snow ball of information. Soon a book project about Al Bourj, the concept of public space is to see the light.

Ms. Mona Hallak
Architect / Heritage Preservation Activist

Beit Beirut, Mon Amour

In Beirut’s frenzy of real estate speculation and sweeping post war amnesia, it is a miracle that the Barakat Building still stands in Beirut today, and yet more miraculous that it will be a Museum of Memory of the City. In 1994, after downtown Beirut was bulldozed to give way to its “reconstruction” plans, I discovered the Barakat Building and directly fell in love with it. To me it encapsulated the memories of the city and its people, both in times of peace and war. It bore witness to our history and our unique identity as well as our futile civil war.

Despite its strategic location and avant-garde architecture of the mandate era, the building was threatened with demolition in 1997. In 2008, after years of relentless campaigns that I led with the civil society, heritage preservation activists and the media, the building was expropriated by the Municipality of Beirut. Thus, Beit Beirut was born: a civic cultural center, dedicated to the memory and the history of the city. Though the cultural programming has been delayed due to political tension, I still hope that Beit Beirut will be a platform to reconcile the people with their city and with each other, and to celebrate their collective memory. At the same time, it can be a catalyst generating and supporting new projects that highlight the importance of preserving architectural and cultural urban heritage in Beirut.

Ms. Petra Chami
Visual Communicator

“There are no passengers on earth, we are all crew” Marshall McLuhan

At Beirut, we are the crew too, all of us.

As Visual Communicators, the massive world of the techniques of advertising was given to us as the most
effective moneymaking way to use our studies and talents. Since the 50s, Lebanon was initiating its first aesthetic language through its creative activity. After the wars, Lebanese people fall in ethnocentrism, and every group initiated its own symbols, values, and identity. While they were searching for their identities, Lebanese people forgot their belongingness to Beirut. The desire of “belonging” is now fulfilled by belonging to a class through using a defined consumption language or through belonging to politicians, parties, and sects rather than belonging to the land “Lebanon” or to the city “Beirut”. Even inside the city we are consuming ideas and cultures without any adaptation to its culture and history.

According to advertising, data showed that each sect or party has its own place to advertise inside Beirut. Every detail in Lebanon is politicized, even design and advertising. Many well-known advertising agencies are partisans to a politician’s party or religious sect. Uniqueness does not exist, practically, within the Lebanese graphic design discipline, not even in its capital city, Beirut. When we create an aesthetic, creative and contemporary vision of Beirut’s culture, the language will be unique. Awakening the relation of graphic design with Beirut will help initiating the rebelonging of the Lebanese People to Beirut.

This is a Relationship Story! It is a relation between us as designers, and “Beirut” as a capital city; graphic design revolution is totally needed to re-belong to the city through projects for positive change. This will never be the death of modern design; it is a creative renaissance that will respect the culture and the history of Beirut.

10.05.2018 – 19:00
music performance

Amphitheatre – Block D

Mrs. Daline Jabbour 
Sings Beirut “Mon Amour”

Daline Jabbour, holder of a BA in music education – lebanese university and oriental singing diploma from the antonine university. Daline performed in various theatres across Lebanon and performed during the opening ceremony of Sheikh Ibrahim cultural and research centre’s festival (Bahrain – 01 October 2011). She joined Asil Ensemble in Youssef El-Minilawi’s centenary ceremony at “Fouad the First” theatre (Cairo – 19 November 2011).

Daline Jabbour /Vocals
Tammam Saeed /Oud
Ali Abdo /Cello
Rami Al Jundi /Percussion

21.05 till 25.05.2018
art exhibition

Multipurpose Hall – Block D

Marwan Rechmaoui

Marwan Rechmaoui was born in Lebanon, in 1964. Deriving inspiration from the geography and rich cultural history of Beirut, Rechmaoui’s work often reflects themes of urbanization and contemporary social and behavioral demographics. He uses industrial materials such as concrete, rubber, tar and glass to create tactile works on a large scale.

Rechamoui’s works have primarily focused on local landmarks, such as a reproduction of the modernist Yacoubian Building in Spectre (2006); and A Monument for the Living (2001), a large-scale architectural model of the derelict Burj Al Murr, which towers over downtown Beirut. His UNRWA series (2011) includes hand drawn maps on concrete, wood, and tin from Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and a series of found objects exposing different cluster munitions collected after the 2006 war in Lebanon.

Rechmaoui’s solo exhibitions include Fortress in a Corner, Bishop Takes Over, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Lebanon (2016); Landscapes, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Lebanon (2011); Entre Asphalte et Béton, French Cultural Center in Lebanon (1998). He participated in several group exhibitions including Tamawuj, Sharjah Biennial 13” in UAE (2017); The Silent Echo at the Baalbek Roman Ruins, Lebanon (2016); 14th Istanbul Biennial in Istanbul (2015); Heartland, Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon (2015); and Here & Elsewhere, the New Museum, New York (2014).

Marwan Rechmawi

Each city holds particularities of a character and attitude towards its citizens, an ever-changing, even if slowly, character, a “young” city, a “hip” city, “chaotic” city and so on… Beirut is full of heterogeneous elements, which we manage to make peace with, once we live in this city, and we stop really looking at these. In this new project, I try to showcase these elements to understand the complexity of the space in which I dwell.

Maya Chami

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1981, where she currently resides, Maya Chami obtained a BS in graphic design from the Lebanese American University and completed a MA in digital arts at Camberwell College of Arts at the University of the Arts, London, UK. With a varied portfolio of graphic design and digital arts, her works include commissioned and personal projects, in addition to collaborations.

The live audio-visual animation created by Maya “Transitional Digital Objects” (2011), and presented in Beirut, London, Munich, and New York, explore the transitional aspect of digital objects in relation to autobiography. “Of Men, Champagne and Victory Aside” (2012), presented in Beirut and New York, offer a playful examination on the theme of the ‘victory sign’ in the Arab world.

Commissioned and collaborative works include “Au Quotidien” a digital moving image video presented in Chouftouhouna Festival in Tunisia, “Synapses 0” at Dawawine Beirut and in Clermont-Ferrand’s “Literature and Cinema” festival, videos for the set of “A Memory for Forgetfulness”, a play presented in Krefeld, Germany that was produced and directed by Maya Zbib of the Zoukak Theater Company and Cultural Association in Beirut. Other such works include an animated video collaboration with artist Dia Batal entitled, “What Myriam did not forget” presented at the Mosaic Rooms London and iconic works commissioned by artist Marwan Rechmaoui for the “Blazon” project presented at Home Works 7 in Beirut.

In 2018, she curated the exhibition “Keyword: Palestine”, An Art Exhibition and Auction in support of the Institute of Palestine Studies which took place at Dar El-Nimer in Beirut and virtually keywordpalestine.com

Maya Chami

Transitional digital objects: Fluidity in compositing an autobiography or a failure to create a portrait of the whole?

The video explores the transitional aspect of digital objects in relation to autobiography, traveling around the theme of object and fantasy. Assuming the fluid nature of digital objects, the video places autobiography as the aim from transitional digital objects manipulation, raising the question whether this fluidity will act as a facilitator to autobiographical visual compositing or will it fail to create a portrait of the whole?

Hassan Choubassi

Hassan Choubassi is a visual artist born in Beirut in 1970 holder of a PhD. in Communication Media from the European Graduate School, Switzerland 2014 with a thesis on the politics of mobile connectivity, “The masses: from the implosion of fantasies to the explosion of the political”, he also holds a Masters degree in Scenic Design from DasArts in Amsterdam 2005, and a BA in Fine Arts from the Lebanese American University 1996. He is currently the Chairperson of the Fine Arts & Design department at the International University of Beirut (BIU) and the founding director of the Institute of Visual Communication (IVC).

He has several research studies in the filed of communication media, digital and information technology in arts, augmented reality, new media in urban context, anthropological and intercultural city mapping, mobile media, alternative education, new modes of perception for university students.

His art projects including ‘Oeuvres Bacchiques’ 2000, ‘Barcode’ 2001, ‘Written Visuals’ 2002, ‘I am not the others’ 2003, ‘I am elsewhere’, ‘Lost in the city’ 2004 and ‘Beirut metro map’ 2005 were presented in Beirut, Cairo, Amsterdam, Milano, New York, London, Belgium and Spain.

His video works: ‘In the void’, ‘Freefall at 180’. ‘The Other Orange’ 2005, ‘Talk to Me’, ‘Well and Surviving’ 2006, ‘I am the all Knowing the Deceased’ 2008, ‘Dismantling a Weapon of Mass Destruction’ 2008 were screened in Beirut, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Hamburg, Luxembourg, Seoul and Copenhagen.

Hassan Choubassi

A fictional Metro map for an underground network lines in Beirut adding another virtual layer to the psychological and physical labyrinth of the city, focusing on the ever-present demarcation lines that were splitting Beirut during the long period of the civil war, and its relation to the social environment in post-war Beirut.

The circulation flow is illogical and irrelevant to the geographical urban structure of the city, in a way that all the metro lines will stop at the old demarcation lines, and passengers will have to change to another line in order for them to cross to the other side. Still up until now people taking ‘service’ cab have to take another cab on the old ‘crossings’ to continue to the other side, the driver on the west side of Beirut will not go to the east side and vice versa, even the buses have their major stops on the old crossing points of the old green zone.

Tamara Al Samerraei

Born in Kuwait in 1977, Tamara Al Samerraei is a painter who lives and works in Beirut. She received a BA in Fine Arts from the Lebanese American University in Beirut in 2002 and completed the inaugural year of the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan (2011-2012), Beirut.

Her solo exhibitions include Let Me Stay a Little Longer, Marfa’ Projects, Beirut (2015-2016), Make Room for Me, Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2014); Fleeting Fences (2011) and Something White (2008), Agial Art Gallery, Beirut. Her most recent project was a joint exhibition with photographer Fouad ElKoury entitled Play The Possum, Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2016).

She has participated in several group and duo exhibitions including;Home Beirut Sounding the Neighbours, MAXXI museum, Rome(2017); Tamawuj-Sharjah Biennial13, Sharjah(2017); Complicity, Sultan Gallery, Kuwait(2016); On Water, Rosemary and Mercury in Homeworks 7, Beirut (2015); 25 Ans De Creativite Arabe, Institut Du Monde Arabe, Paris (2012); All About Beirut, White Box, Munich (2010); Exposure, Beirut Art Center, Beirut; Radius of Art project, Fladernbunker, Kiel, (2008); Shoe Box, Dar Al Funoon, Kuwait (2007). Most recently Al Samerraei completed a nine-month residency at the Cite International Des Arts in Paris (2014).

Tamara Al Samerraei

“to repeat, monotonously, some common word, until the sound, by dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any idea whatever to the mind”. ‘Berenice’ 1835, Edgar Allan Poe.

Ali Cherri

Ali Cherri is a video and visual artist. His recent solo exhibitions include Dénaturé at Galerie Imane Farès, Paris (2017), Somniculus at Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC, Bordeaux (2017); From Fragment to Whole at Jönköpings Läns Museum, Sweden (2017); A Taxonomy of Fallacies at Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016).

His work has been exhibited in international museums amongst them Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2018) Centre Pompidou, Paris (2017); MAXXI, Rome (2017); Le MACVAL, Val-de-Marne (2017); Guggenheim, New York (2016); Aichi Triennial, Japan (2016). He’s the recipient of Harvard University’s Robert E. Fulton Fellowship (2016) and Rockefeller Foundation Award (2017).

Ali Cherri

Un Cercle autour du Soleil 

“I was disappointed the day they announced the war had ended. I used to be elated by the idea of living in a city that was eating itself, like excess stomach fluid that digests and gradually eats away the stomach.” In a cyclical structure from dark to light, Un Cercle autour du Soleil is a reflection on growing up in Beirut during the civil war years, and how to adapt to the “post war” life; accepting the body that is in ruin, and learning to live in the city that is always already in ruin.

Dimitri Haddad

Dimitri is a visual artist, partner and curator of ARTLAB gallery. After several years of professional experience, He pursued his masters in Fine Arts Photography in Madrid to come back and develop a cultural an artistic hub in Beirut.

Dimitri has worked with several established artists from the region and curated national and international exhibitions.

Today, apart from the gallery, Dimitri runs an artist studio and photography center that aims at promoting and developing local photography.

Dimitri Haddad

There was a time when Beirut was divided by an invisible line separating the city into two sides: the isolationist East and the progressist West.

This indicated the start of the Civil War in 1975. The line left buildings destroyed and abandoned, draining the blood of its own people. It was a street where green grew out of the bloody soil; the Green Line.

This demarcation line, originally set by militias and armed men lasted until 1990, but its trauma lingered on. What was a physical barrier for those who survived the war became a psychological obstacle for those who were born after it. A fear of the “other side” was fueled by stories of death and hate haunting abandoned buildings where only bullet holes remain.

Tarek Mourad

Tarek Mourad is a Brazilian-Lebanese artist born in São Paulo, Brazil. Has a degree in Graphic Design from LIU and is currently working on his masters in education. He started his career at the age of 16 as a photojournalist and later as a food photographer. Throughout his life he was always connect to art in some form and in 2010 gave up all of his other activities and dedicates himself entirely to photography, painting, printmaking, drawing and sculpting.

He is constantly working on the relationship of the perpetual cycle of social inclusion and space-time.

Tarek Mourad

This photograph is part of what the artist calls “time capsule” photography. A roll of film is exposed and kept for a certain amount of years, randomly decided by the artist, and only then developed. The result is a total surprise and a trip back to the past. This roll of film was shot in August 1994 and was only developed in December 2017. These photographs were taken in the Basta neighborhood in Beirut. But that is the most the artist can remember about these forgotten people. Two hundred poster were printed and are available in this exhibition. Along with the time shift, the artist proposes that every visitor takes a poster to hang somewhere on the street, thus allowing for a full shift in space-time.