"Beirut Vacui" in exhibition at Färgfabriken, Stockholm
Updated: Dec 23, 2019
Patchwork of Narratives
Exhibition Stockholm: January 29 – March 29 2015 at Färgfabriken
"Beirut Vacui" - a video by Ali Beidoun
I never could qualify my relation to Beirut, not even define it, this has to do with my need to be detached from it trying to consider in the same time what I owe to the city from richness of senses and extreme emotions that every artist needs to perceive.
Now based in Italy, a bit distant from Beirut reality. I find myself more objective towards what I used to perceive from Beirut, because simply being physically in the city can modify the level of the sensibility in a significant way, the urban sensibility, and this has to do with the “urge of leaving” syndrome that I used to elaborate when I was in the city.
The will to love, the suffocation, and the leave/ stay dilemma, were the only inspirations that I had before going through the video. Few months after leaving Beirut, I got back to do this video, I hoped that few months was sufficient to be distant and put myself again in the game of the senses that I always have with in Beirut. I wanted to experiment through a random person that passes in the shot some of those senses without imposing my individual feelings towards the city! But after a while, I saw that the anxiety is somehow collective, the undefined future is irritating, the fears from others, and the urban reality that becomes hypnotic.
In the video, I tried to be intimate; this wasn’t a big challenge, since passion in Beirut is everywhere. The whole experience for me confirmed certain issues between me and Beirut, maybe the passion is part of the problem, I’m too involved with my city in a way that I relate all its problems to my soul. Its history is part of my fears; therefore the future of the city is another fear! So the process of the work was quite smooth, I passed several days filming in the city, choosing places that always interact with me, where the cement is present almost all the time, the horrible towers, and the sea… Easily I can say that this video is part of a long treatment procedure. I was lucky that Fargfabriken asked me to do it, maybe that’s why I wanted to be involved in the project, to render certain emotions with Beirut to a visual material, once this was done I moved to another level in my relationship with Beirut, there’s a moment, during the editing, I realized that being outside Beirut can secure my future that will eventually has to do with Beirut itself, in a way I felt that I have to leave to perceive a gentle image of Beirut, this is not escaping, this is belonging in a different method. So the perspective on Beirut now is clearer, I maybe know what I want from the city, at least for this period. Maybe later, certain issues will be asked again.
For sure, my engagement to this project was quite individual and subjective, a thing that let me perceive the basic meaning of any video work.