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Derailing Beirut

Rome, Italy

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MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts

Spazio: Derailing Beirut

Rome, Italy
27 May 2010 - 23 January 2011

Concept: Bernard Khoury in collaboration with Yasmine Almachnouk Production: Georges Daou, Ryan Mehanna & A.C.I.D.             As an ultimate act of resistance to a falsified history in which we have become passive actors, are we capable of inventing the tools that can overturn Beirut’s sensational stereotypes and denounce the innumerable fantasies attributed to it. We propose to draw an infernal circuit in which the sensation-driven tourists seeking instant gratification are propelled in a pre-determined course. As passive projectiles, the tourists are placed in a hermetically lethargic situation to ultimately be embedded in expected representations and clichés of our city. Beirut becomes an exotic amusement park destined to be consumed through representations of a History that escapes us, postcards that will hopefully be deemed historical waste.  Saïd, bearer of the rolling capsule, wanders the city awaiting the occasional tourist. His task consists of recuperating the device at the bottom of its course and hauling it back to its departure point. Before being assigned this duty, Saïd was a porter at Beirut International Airport. French Photographer Eric Lambert came to Beirut to document the circuit that was jointly implemented by private investors and the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism. Soon enough, Lambert’s fascination for Saïd’s routine prevailed over the initial object of his research: the tentacular tracks within the cityscape become a mere background to the city that has yet again assimilated another layer into its fabric.