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« Beirutopia »


By Randa Mirza

From 23 January, 2016
To 10 February, 2016

Beirutopia is a future glimpse of Beirut’s portrait. Since the civil war ended in 1990, Beirut has been seeking to renew its mythical status as a glamorous city where East meets West. The city is currently experiencing a vigorous property boom, fuelled by the entry of foreign capital and major speculation. To market these burgeoning construction projects, developers are erecting huge billboards depicting the future buildings. These posters are not only mock-ups but bio-politicized representations, i.e. images identifying a form of power over people’s lives. In an illusory way, they simulate, if not promulgate, the building, its environment, its interiors, its people and their lifestyle.

The photographs  from this “Beirutopia” series form a mise en abyme of the virtual buildings’ billboards, framed within the real space in which they are located. The intersection of the virtual and the real imbues the photographs with an air of unsettling strangeness, reflecting the current transformation of the city. This sense of unease is further increased by their framing, by effects of scale and plane, forming a critical reading of the urban development. Beirutopia refers to a counter-utopia, making no distinction between the illusory images and the stories of the pastiche it embodies. This merging of the virtual and the real redefines the urban space and its potentialities, bringing forth new forms of identification and re-appropriations of the social and spatial fabric. As such, the photographs form a space of resistance.

 

Where

Station, near Beirut Art Center
Jisr El Wati
Beirut

When

From 23 January, 2016
To 10 February, 2016

12:00pm - 7:00pm

Closed on Sundays