plugging beirut politics
MA Project exhibited at the Bargehouse, OXO Tower, London's Southbank.
Student work, 2009
'Best of Show 2009' by Tim Hatley, internationally acclaimed and award winning theatre and film director.
Due to its strategic location at the gateway to the Middle East, the city of Beirut in Lebanon occupies a complex territory at the confluence of east – west tension. It is consequently a city of political turmoil and unrest, the crucible in which global geo-political and ideological conflicts are periodically, violently enacted.
Today Beirut is synonymous with civil war, assassinations, and clashes, etc. despite a culture spanning 5000 years of civilization. Dig just beneath the surface of the city and these civilizations quickly become evident.
Beirut has no popular system of street signage navigation but depends largely upon verbal story telling based on local landmarks. This project plugs orientation and navigational information into the infrastructure of the city by using manhole covers as markers of political conflicts that have occurred in the city. The manhole covers are utilized as a means of symbolizing access to the subterranean historical strata of the city – strata that may offer a sense of perspective on the contemporary situation.
The project suggests there is a greater historical order to which today’s order will eventually succumb; today’s ‘news’ becomes tomorrow’s history.
The manhole covers of ‘Plugging Beirut Politics’ are divided into 5 categories [Green Line, Hostage Crisis, Explosions & Assassinations, Demonstrations, and Clashes & Gun Battles] and are respectively located where the events befell.