CHAPTER I – Beirut & Batroun

Quantum Fluctuations in a Synecdochic Universe

December 04-08, 2012

The session in Beirut opened the research cycle “Catastrophe & Heritage” (2012-2014) which investigated  the interplay between catastrophe, heritage, transformation and art in Lebanon, Japan, Italy and Brazil. The session in Beirut read the concept of ‘ruin’ through the linguistic figure of the synecdoche and performed Beirut’s post-war landscape through metaphorical and fictional gestures:

In a mapped configuration of time-space, OuUnPo lands at a temporary shift in the magnitudes of entropy and gravity. It is one in a multitude and finds itself when the unknown starts. It is a twofold encounter, one contemporary with its participants, the other with an inhabitant of age, which you would call a distant future. What happens is only possible to seize in its aftermath. Recurrence of places is a possibility yet there will be no repetition. Guided by the uncertainty principle encounters will unfold. The synecdoche is your key to access a tropic space. The figure of speech involves an intermitted yet visionary perception. You speak as you articulate silence, as you subvert absence and presence. One part may stand in for the whole as well as the whole can fit into the most modest detail. You presume what is real from that which that glances at you. The fictional is a reality and a posterior is already in there. It is a journey of wonders, where one cannot expect to trust all that is visible. You are on your own to collect resonances as you go along, to reconstruct a meaningful universe from a discontinuous landscape of fragments. Coincidences, recurrences, déjà vus. These are your way to a simultaneous understanding in the moment of life where time comes into place. You call it now, they call it history, we call it future.


Sara Giannini and Fatos Üstek. Curatorial assistant Ilaria Lupo.

Some highlights of the program

The session opened with a full-day workshop co-hosted by artists Mounira Al Solh, Chaza Charafeddine and Karine Wehbe in which we shared our respective practices, interests and work-in-progresses. The session continued with the live hypnosis The Mouth of Your Fingers Speaks with Beirut  that artist Natasha Rosling  performed in the stairway and rooftop terrace of a private building and that later led to a series of ‘ventriloquil’ interventions for the public stairs between Mar Mikhael and Gemmayzeh neighbourhoods. The exploration of private and public dimensions continued with Jacopo Miliani’s Yes We Do, We Believe in Mirages at 98weeks Project Space and adjacent private apartments. The performance was an experimental synecdochic reading of selected texts from his book Do you Believe in Mirages? reflecting on the idea of representation, imagination, vision and exoticism. Performative readings were also at the base of the collective Radio Broadcasting that the group performed at Radio Beirut and at the opening night of the new cultural space The Mansion with … In Fact More Imagined Than Real. Narrativity and story-telling have also been explored by the Guided Tour that visiting artists Per Hüttner and Klas Eriksson appropriated from a local architect and performed in downtown Beirut, blurring the line between factuality and fiction. The session ended with a sound piece by Samon Takahashi at the magical premises of Batroun Art Space along the Lebanese coast.

Participants and contributors

From the OuUnPo network: Yane Calovski, Klas Eriksson, Sara Giannini, Per Hüttner, Jacopo Miliani, Raffaella della Olga, Marco Pasi, Natasha Rosling, Claudia Squitieri, Samon Takahashi, Fatos Üstek, Stephen Whitmarsh.

Local participants: Amanda Abu Khalil, Mounira Al Solh Mirene Arsanios, Marwa Arsanios, Seth Ayyaz, Monika Borgmann, Chaza Charafeddine, Lawrence Abu Hamdan,  Sandra Iché, Ilaria Lupo, Ghassan Maasri, Jean-Marc Nahas, Nora Razian, Karine Wehbe, Raed Yassin & many others.

Partners and venues

Agial Art Gallery, Villa Fleming, The Mansion, 98weeks Research Project, Beirut National Museum, The Hangar-UMAM Center, Radio Beirut, Byblos Archeological Sites, Batroun Art Space, as well as public spaces in the city.

CHAPTER II – ZKM Center for Arts and Media Karlsruhe

All the Worlds that you Word…

January 18, 2014

In the context of the ZKM exhibition Global aCtiVISM, OuUnPo invited artists Mounira Al Solh and Lawrence Abu Hamdan to enact and perform two ongoing research projects that poke and investigate the liaisons between language and power. Mounira Al Solh presented her NOA (not only arabic) magazine, a series of collaborative and performative gestures recollected under printed form. Lawrence Abu Hamdan has instead organized a collective listening session and discussion stemming out of Aural Contract, a project about the relationship of listening to politics, borders, human rights, testimony, truth and international law.

Both chapters have been supported by Linköpings universitet and the European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam

© 2017 A Theme