Beirut Lab: 1975(2020)
Exhibition Curated by Juli Carson and Yassmeen Tukan
UC Irvine’s Universities Art Galleries (UAG), October 5 – December 14, 2019

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 The subject of Beirut Lab:  1975(2020) – a film installation –  features contemporary film essays  produced by artists living and  working in Beirut, a site where time  bends and curves, as in a Gödel  universe. Here, as elsewhere,  historical events are what  semioticians call a “sliding  signifier,” an image-unit that  floats between the past, present and  future, then back again in one’s  mind. Counter-intuitively, Beirut is  also a city where particular events  function as a kind of collective  caesura – an historical blank space  – within cultural consciousness. The  most prominent of these events being  the Lebanese Civil War, 1975-1991,  which has (and continues) to provoke  critically minded artists to engage  in a type of hermeneutic aesthetics  of past moments in time. For  instance, artists of one generation,  who were in primary school in the  seventies, wrangle with screen  memories of that moment, which can  neither be completely remembered nor  forgotten. Alternately, a younger  generation of artists attempts to  untangle that which they never knew  themselves but which they have  inherited as a gap in Lebanon’s  state sanctioned national history.  But, already, this generational  schema is a bit too tidy. For there  are those artists in the region  whose artwork critically investigate  the more general question of memory,  history and, therefore, temporality,  by subtending the perspectival  positions of the aforementioned  generational lines. The film essays  featured in Beirut Lab: 1975(2020),  showcase all three such   perspectives.

 Films by: Basma Alsharif, Panos  Aprahamian, Mohamed Berro, Gregory  Buchakjian and Valerie Cachard, Ali  Cherri, Toni Geitani, Daniele  Genadry, Amer Ghandour, Ahmad  Ghossein, Ghassan Halwani, Mustapha  Jundi, Nadim Mishlawi, Heather  O'Brien, Raed and Rania Rafei, Walid  Sadek, Ghassan Salhab, Mohamed  Soueid, Rania Stephan, and Jalal  Toufic.

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