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This was just a beginning...

ART, ECOLOGY AND THE COMMONS: TOGETHER IN AGONY WE PERSIST 

ملاذ: واحة تشاركية لتجاوز الشقاء معًا 

We wrapped up Art, Ecology and the Commons’ ten-day program over two weeks ago in Beirut, and we are still feeling its rippling effect.


The unrelenting volatility of the current situation did not make it easy, but we were able to persist with the uncompromising help of our extensive web of allies… The unfolding of #AEC #ملاذ washed away any lingering feelings of uncertainty, as it brought to light people’s overwhelming engagement and desire for resistance. 

An agonizing community came together to seek refuge in the foliage of our young forest, protected by the shade of its trees, equally as inspired by their interdependence and resilience despite a broken environment along the bank of a waterless river. For ten days, we gathered for walks, talks, films, meals, planting and care, breathing life into our forest and the minds of those who joined us, citizens and artists alike.

This, however, was a not singular pursuit, conceived in search of resolution. It was instead designed to build curiosity and open-ended inquiry, prompting the unexpected and emergent to manifest, in the hope of affecting long-term change. 

There is wonder in experiencing our carefully crafted program transform with every encounter, its goals and reach altered by the community and artists who engaged with it. We feel empowered by this necessary moment which took place during and despite this critical period in the life of our country, and are hopeful to continue, evolve and reiterate it, here and elsewhere.

Stay tuned for more, always.

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In collaboration with theOtherDada, this program is supported by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), the French Institute, Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) and the Goethe-Institut Lebanon.

A massive thank you to our allies on the ground, who kept us going in every way: our wonderfully committed volunteers, our technical director Zico, Advanced Car Rental for the rides, Bossa Nova Hotel for our second base, Metropolis Cinema for our forest screenings, Light for Lebanon for lighting our forest; Bread Republic, Jai KitchenNation Station and Rim Water for giving us much-needed energy, and of course, the Municipality of Sin El Fil for the continuous support. To our Study guests who imparted so much knowledge and care; thank you Samar Kanafani, Sarah Lily Yassine, Marwan Rechmaoui, Khaled Sleem and Sandy Boutros.

From the TAP team on the ground and abroad: Amanda Abi Khalil, Danielle Makhoul, Jad Karam, Ahmad Deeb, Alexia Piere and Sarah Daher.

Revisit #AEC's Site-specific Commissions

Voices of a Forgotten Network
Podpoems by Nadim Mishlawi


27 August, 2021 - 5 September / 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

Within, beneath, and across the urban fabric of Beirut are a plethora of different systems, many of which unseen, that continue to influence the perpetual preciousness of the city’s political landscape. In the series of “Podpoems,” Voices of a Forgotten Network, sound becomes a vessel through which to reconsider how these invisible and often ignored ecological, organic, and synthesized systems of influence remain significant despite their ethereality.

Listen to Podpoem 01:
The River


Using only sounds recorded on location in the concrete shaft that is the Beirut River with conventional microphones and less conventional hydrophones and electromagnetic sensors, this first piece merges the bleak soundscape of the river today with a synthesized, imaginary sonic world created from those same sounds. As the sonic terrain transforms, the grim story of the river, and the lost opportunities in presents, is told by different voices from Beirut.

Click here for english transcripts.

Listen to Podpoem 02:
Mushrooms


Mushrooms are spawned from a diverse network of mycelia growing underground, and it is only when the conditions are perfect that mushrooms stem from this network, often defying the expected. Taking this very rudimentary idea, the second piece reflects on the notion of defiance as an act which may or may not similarly stem from unseen, and often unexpected networks. The piece presents the existence of mushrooms, as ordinary fungi to mind altering hallucinogens, to reconsider that which inspires defiance.

Mad3oum - value in a state of economic crisis
Participatory research installation
by Franziska Pierwoss


27 August, 2021 - 5 September / 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

Watch Mad3oum here.

Mad3oum - value in a state of economic crisis is a commissioned video work by Franziska Pierwoss centered around the notion of value in a failing economy, focusing on questions of food consumption in Lebanon today. The idea for the project emerged in the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion in August 2020 and the subsequent worsening of the economic crisis in Lebanon. With a food economy dependent on foreign imports, Lebanon is currently forced to re-discover its potential as an agricultural actor; but what forms of agriculture and vending models will prove sustainable in this crisis? 
 



The research is a result of artist-led interviews conducted in Lebanon in August 2021 with managers of local supermarkets, consumers and employees of small and large scale family and corporate businesses, looking at the supermarket as the epicenter of the ongoing economic crisis.

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This commission was also exhibited at the Haus der Statistik from August 27-29, as part of Redeem, a platform for ongoing conversations between voices from Beirut and Berlin. 

Le Salut
Site-specific intervention
by Charbel Samuel Aoun


27 August, 2021 - 5 September / 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

A funeral of a missed flow, buried 50 years ago and still, a natural morphology of a river transformed into a sewer, a physical reality of a social malfunction, we mourn, today, the river, the land, the city.

Memorial ribbons mark what once were the river contour lines on this particular site, leading to an engraving on the concrete wall it has now been reduced to:

هنا يرقد ذاك الذي نحت بالماء
[Here lies the one that water carved]

© Lea Cremona

Terrace / صطيحة
Billboard intervention
by Omar Fakhoury & Christian Zahr


27 August, 2021 - 5 September / 6:00 - 9:00 pm
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

Two solitary billboards stand along the high road overlooking Beirut's RiverLESS Forest. Omar Fakhoury & Christian Zahr flipped the vertical surface of one of the billboards to convert it to a terrace, a place of gathering overlooking the forest.

Inspired by Antony Gormley’s Fourth Plinth commission, the artists called on the public to activate Terrace / سطيحة as an open stage, inviting anyone to intervene throughout Art, Ecology and the Commons'  ten-day program.

Paysages Exquis
Billboard intervention by Nasri Sayegh


12 June, 2021 - 27 August, 2021
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

Read the rest of the interview here.

"When invited to intervene on this billboard, I spontaneously thought about using it to “write a message”. Using letters. Words. But no word could fathom the extent of the catastrophe we are currently witnessing and living. I then decided to take refuge in my forest of images. To choose the solitude of bare landscapes. The nudity of images as opposed to the mundane aspect of words and messages.

Granting a billboard the status of receptacle of landscapes, I chose to juxtapose two images.



It is not so much the origin of these images that interests me, but rather their belonging to what I would call a world-geography (géographie-monde). My fascination with landscapes transcends borders and geographies and times. This diptych is taken from my research project entitled Paysages Exquis."

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The commission was inaugurated on June 12, for the second anniversary of Beirut’s RiverLESS Forest. 

Closing Night:
Learn More About Our Study Participants' Interventions

The Water Feast 
Ten moments in two hours
by Mirna Bamieh


5 September, 2021 / 6:00 pm
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

Moving water and river thoughts, next to Beirut’s waterless river.


When the river’s skin, that of earth,
was cast in concrete,
It took the burden of water that left our insides to the city.
The river’s water left, yet there it is,
in every herb, shrub, forest and tree.
Outside grief and celebration, let the river flow within.
In every us, magic in water,
Everflow
Evergreen

 


An invitation to sit together, around a water feast. We’ll sip the waters of distilled herbs and flowers, we’ll savor infusions of the herbs from our mountain walks. We’ll read water texts and poems, and reflect on the deep waters arising from our waterfull guts.

And after all that smelling, drinking and sipping and toasting,
treading, floating, meandering and flooding

We’ll close the night by a traditional water celebration dish, Mfat’a, one of Beirut’s oldest sweets, to be the shore for all the waters that we will savor together.

Seed-Kebbeh
Participatory planting intervention
by Christian Sleiman


5 September, 2021 / 8:00 pm
Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

Gathered around a banquet of fruits, participants stood barefoot on the soil encircling the spread. Following a silent moment of grounding, all were invited to consume the fruit. The seeds that remained were placed in clay seed bombs handcrafted by Christian Sleiman, to be returned to the earth.


Participants are encouraged to log the location of their capsule, allowing the artist to track the growth of the seedlings.

If you threw a capsule, please help the artist track the progress of the seeds by filling this form.

PITCH-BLACK
15-min performance at a road intersection
by Rana Haddad and Pascal Hachem [200Grs]


5 September, 2021 / 8:30 pm
by Beirut's RiverLESS Forest

A young forest-to-be persists against all odds along Beirut’s waterless riverbed, offering a safe haven amidst total chaos, but also serving as a reminder of the multitude of fires raging on in a suffocating nation: those that burn our greater prized forests to the brink of disappearance, but also those burning an entire country to the ground.

The everyday has become insufferable: a 90% devaluation of the local currency in less than a year, the loss of life-savings to capital control, skyrocketing unemployment, mass exodus, no electricity, no fuel, no medication… 
And yet we stand. 
We stand in a place where blocking roads in protest has become common practice.


Pitch-black is a silent cry, expressing our collective agony at the intersection of two roads. As the headlights of our cars shine a light on these dark streets in the absence of electricity, we highlight the fragility of our ecosystem, our own fragility. As we block yet another road together, we feel frail and yet in need of each other, so we carry one-another, and we fall together; only to rise and try again, and again.

Pieces of charcoal serve as the only support we seem to have to carry our limbs, only they also break against the asphalt like broken glass. As our arms and hands drop against the black wooden table… all we can do is try again.

GESTURE I
Intervention of care
by Petra Serhal


5 September, 2021 / 7:30 - 9:30 pm
by Beirut's RiverLESS Forest
GESTURE I is an intervention of care at a time when the Lebanese state has left its citizens to fend for themselves and deal with each other during an economic, health and political crisis. Petra Serhal felt that the only action she could take as an artist in this moment was to take care of people’s bodies.
In the forest, she invited people to sit under a tree, where she used natural herbs and flowers gathered from this same forest and others, to eat, drink, smell and apply on the skin as a way to help the body relax. She shared some natural remedies she learned from her grandmother, as the attendees shared theirs.

Forest Fictions
Collaborative live writing piece
by Raafat Majzoub


5 September, 2021 / 8:00 - 10:00 pm
by Beirut's RiverLESS Forest
​​Throughout the period of the study, Raafat Majzoub invited the participants to take part of The Khan Collection, a mutually owned art collection that aims to subvert economic practices in the art market for social, cultural and financial gains for its participants. This process is ongoing, and will hopefully keep the study group in close conversation beyond the program.
For the closing event, Raafat also performed Forest Fictions, a collaborative live writing piece projected in the forest showing forest-related personal narratives being written on an open Google Doc by himself, the crowd in Sin el Fil and remotely.  

Contribute your forest fictions
or edit ours
here.
 
#AEC #ملاذ IN THE PRESS

Learn more about Art, Ecology and the Commons in the press!

28 July, 2021 | L’Orient Le-Jour: Mais que vient faire la « Forêt de Fontainebleau » à Sin el-Fil ?

27 August, 2021 | LBCI: News

27 August, 2021 | Al-Akhbar: ملاذ"... مساحة لتجاوز الشقاء؟"

27 August, 2021 | Annahar: مشروع "ملاذ" في غابة سن الفيل... واحة فنية تشاركية لتجاوز الشقاء

28 August, 2021 | L’Orient Le-Jour: L’Art dans l’Agonie 

28 August, 2021 | Sputnik Agency (Russia): مشروع غابة جديدة على نهر بيروت لاستعادة النظام البيئي المدمر منذ الستينات

28 August, 2021 | El Nashra Fann:  مشروع بيئي فني في سن الفيل يتحدى الظروف الصعبة في لبنان

28 August, 2021 | Asharq Al-Awsat (London): غابة بيروت في «سن الفيل»... «ملاذ» للفنانين

28 August, 2021 | National News Agency (NNA): افتتاح غابة بأبعاد فنية وبيئية في سن الفيل

28 August, 2021 | Baladiyyat: افتتاح غابة بأبعاد فنية وبيئية في سن الفيل

28 August, 2021 | Addiyar: مشروع بيئي فني في سن الفيل يتحدى الظروف الصعبة في لبنان

29 August, 2021 | Annahar Al Arabi: ملاذ: واحة تشاركية لتجاوز الشقاء معًا

29 August, 2021 | Radio Montecarlo Doualiya (Paris): الفنان عمر فاخوري في مشروع _ملاذ_ يحوّل لوحة إعلانية الى حيّز للالتقاء - كافيه شو

29 August, 2021 | Radio Montecarlo Doualiya (Paris): _ملاذ_، مشروعٌ تشاركي في بيروت تخفيفاً للمعاناة - كافيه شو

30 August, 2021 | AlQuds Al Arabi (London): مشروع «ملاذ»_ أيام في غابة شابة كبرت وحيدة و«تجاوزت الشقاء»

31 August, 2021 | Al Jadeed: La naaref aktar

31 August, 2021 | Raseef 22:  غابة في بيروت تتحول إلى واحة تشاركية... ملاذ

1 September, 2021 | L’Orient Le-Jour: Amanda Abi Khalil : Si nous allons mal, la terre va mal

1 September, 2021 | MTV: MTV Alive

1 September, 2021 | Al-Akhbar: تطاردني ذكرى ليست لي" عرضٌ في الهواء الطلق”

6 September, 2021 | Al Araby (London): ملاذ .. مشروع فني تشاركي في إحدى الغابات المهملة في بيروت │ شبابيك

10 September, 2021 | Al Araby (London): "ملاذ" مشروع بيئي في لبنان

Happening Now: TAP Takes Part in a Three-Month Nomadic Curatorial Residency in France
As part of our current shift in mission to support our community of artists in Lebanon and looking into ways of sustaining our work and activities in the context of the unprecedented social and financial crisis threatening our institution, TAP is taking part in a three-month nomadic curatorial residency in France. 

We will be focusing on developing our existing networks, as well as meeting new interlocutors, artists, curators and institutions with whom we can join forces to generate production, residencies and collaboration opportunities at a time when we and our artists need it most !



Reach out if you are interested in hosting TAP for a talk or meeting, or if you would like to connect us with allies interested in social practice in the field of contemporary art in France! 
13 September - 3 October,  2021:
Maison Salvan à Labège (near Toulouse)

4 October - 24 October 2021:
Le Centre d’arts Fernand Léger Port de Bouc (Aix-Marseille)

25 October - 14 November, 2021:
Finis terrae - Centre d'art insulaire à Ouessant (Island in Finistère)

15 November - 5 December, 2021:
thankyouforcoming (Nice)

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TAP needs your support. 
 

TAP (Temporary Art Platform) is a nonprofit organization committed to making another world possible, by affecting social change through contemporary art. Founded in a region of unrelenting volatility and absent cultural policies, TAP curates the conditions for communities, private bodies and governmental institutions to recognize that contemporary artists can be allies in driving enduring social change amidst precarious contexts. In the process, TAP creates accessible tools and production opportunities for contemporary artists, whilst rendering their practice porous and participatory, within and beyond the field of art.

We have been facing an unprecedented deficit, threatening the sustainability of our institution since the beginning of the global and Lebanese economic crisis. We are however committed, more than ever, to making another world possible, by mediating exchange and prompting the unexpected.

No donation is small.
Become a TAP supporter so that we can persist with wonder, and without compromise.

Donate here.


Contact us on together@temporaryartplatform.com for more information.

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Temporary Art Platform · Furn el Chebeck · Beirut 1107 · Lebanon