bios

NB This is not a website but a notebook.
Most bodies of works presented here are only sketches, drawings or thoughts.
Their final form takes shape when exhibited in real space & time.







Georges Salameh

Greek-Lebanese artist whose work is predominantly lens-based.
Born in Beirut, 1973.
Studied Film at Paris VIII St. Denis.
Lived in Beit Mery, Larnaca, Athens, Paris and Palermo.
Since 1998, has created video & photographic installations, directed documentaries and essay films.



CAHIERS DE LA PAIX (1998-2006)

CAHIERS DE LA CRISE (2007-2017)



on narration

I’ve been working in the field of filmmaking and fine arts for more than 20 years now, but my utmost aspiration is still poetry. So in a way I always put my visual craftsmanship at the service of this unattainable goal, since I don't really write eloquently, in any of the five languages I speak! 
Since my first steps, my work is shaped into an idiosyncratic experience of the notion of sedimentation, both in the physical and metaphysical sense. 
By sedimentation I refer to the layers of time in which live materials and ideas sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean sea. Most of my work is produced over long periods, waiting for this minimum sedimentation to occur. Those materials are archives, recordings, reconstructions, gestures, peripatetic experiences and a sense of listening/hearing. These sediments invite the viewer to a poetic meandering through a creative comparison of reality, of languages, and of narratives. What I call creative comparison of reality is a long process of dialectic creativity that accompanies and informs my work through different stages. 
From the first moment of shooting until the final edit proposal, it’s a continuous flow of layering and shaping. However, what is visible to the viewer and emerges, is only what is visible on the surface, the last layer. A final form is just the end of that process. What is initially subjective, all along the way, becomes distant and timeless. Oblivion is a fundamental element of this process: Why do I take one picture or shoot a particular footage? Editing & storytelling come as a meticulous reading of strata of ones experiences. Slowly you start comparing it with other material and it starts sliding in it’s own narrative, that hopefully by the end of the process it would go beyond your first thought or intuition. I rarely begin any project with a preconceived idea. So I’d say that gesture and the need to search are at the center of my attempts to create one story. Stories form, from collected notes of a candid botanist. All, in a strange way, punctuate the melancholic geography of my wanderings.
My narrations ultimately explore the elemental process by which people construct meaning and knowledge from their experience and practice. All my projects are intuitive responses to emotionally resonant ideas. They look more like a letter to a friend, words said or left unsaid, all floating down the stream of oblivion. 
Oblivion leaves sediments too, on the surface of cities, mounts, valleys or in the depths of the sea. It may in time become memory.



on peripatetics

I walked, walked and still walk on Greek soil and Mediterranean coasts.
Walking is the mother of all migrations.
Man before even beginning to combine action to word, starts on his feet.
Walking reminds us of what gave us our civilizations.
Simple and complex simultaneously, walking certifies that life begins somehow as a human adventure, around the age of one.
The quest for an unattainable return home and an impossible harmony motivates the walker - pilgrim.
Walking is a process and a pretext for introspection. 
Between first steps and travels around the world, there is a major one step that allows you to cross the boundaries of life. 
It's also a form of placing History in the space of an experiential education.
Lonely form of resilience, not without nostalgia, walking is always a step towards the other, and the foreigner in us. It’s an encounter that requires an effort. It’s a therapy, both physical and psychological.
In the effort of walking one escapes the very idea of identity, the temptation to be someone, to have a name and a history.
This new form of freedom lies in not being anyone; for the walking body has no history, it is just an eddy in the stream of immemorial life. Forgetting oneself would begin with deliberately cultivating solitude and oblivion. It would acknowledge that all labor spent on the self is potentially displacement activity, wasted energy. And with that effort conserved, some sort of great work could be done. The reveries of Rousseau, the writings of Rimbaud and then of Stevenson, Thoreau, Benjamin, Walser, Sebald and so many others encourage us, when reading them, to put on our shoes and walk.
To our joy and our health, walking is a form of defiance of speed and noise, increases curiosity, and encourages humility, causing meditation. It invites us to contemplate, be silent and listen better. I would call this form of life practice Peripatetics.
It revolves around experiential, direct, non-conceptual filmmaking & photography. It’s somehow the quiet side of urban, landscape or portrait contemplation during which attention is given primarily to the state of mind and not to the hunting of exceptional phenomena. This internalisation of attention brings a more sober & poetic reading of reality. It’s a detached way of making more intimate images open to interpretations. You create or inhabit a non-familiar space that, through the act of walking, metamorphoses it into a home, and opens it also towards a political gesture and towards the sublime.
I started off at the beginning of my approach over two decades ago, to embrace Athens, my city, neither for what I wanted it to be but for what it is and eluded me. This endeavour in time turned into a prelude to learning about justice, and established itself as one first step in an act of resistance.



collaborations (selected)

DEPRESSION ERA collective's co-founder & contributing artist (Athens, Greece 2011-...)

PHASES MAGAZINE - contributing editor (France/Greece 2015 - 2017)

URBANAUTICA INSTITUTE - contributing editor (Treviso, Italy June 2015-...)



curatorship (selected)

VENTO DEL NORD - film festival program curator (Lampedusa, Italy July 2011)

OPEN ARMS - curator online platform (Athens, Greece August 2013 - )
OPEN ARMS on instagram

MAPPING MEMORIES - review for WIP magazine (Thessaloniki, Greece 2014)

DEPRESSION ERA - co-curator of the collective's installation within the 5th Biennale of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki Greece July-Sept 2015)

ORMOS - curator Exhibition (Palermo, Italy January 2016)

DEPRESSION ERA - co-curator of the collective's exhibition at SLOUGHT (Philadelphia, USA Jan-Feb. 2019)

PLATEAU 034 - co-curator of the exhibition at Zoetrope (Athens, Greece, June 2019)

DEPRESSION ERA - co-curator of the collective's TOURISTS installation within 13,700,000 km^3 exhibition at Pythagorion Art Space (Samos, Greece, August 4–September 30, 2019 )

Τhe Id – RECONSTRUCTING FAMILY - curator of the collective exhibition at MedPhoto Festival & EFEK (Iraklio, Crete, Greece 29th Nov 2019 – 29th Dec 2019)



workshops

ORIGINI (Palermo, Italy March 2015)

PERIPATETICS (Athens, Greece Feb-March 2016)

OPEN ARCHIVE (Philadelphia, USA Jan 2019)



talks (selected)

MILANO CITTA APERTA - DEPRESSION ERA (Milano, Italy 2015)

MINIMUM - PHASES MAGAZINE (Palermo, Italy 2016)

ORAMA - BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHY (Athens, Greece 2017)

Mobilities in/of Crises: Critical InvestigationsCAESURA (Athens, Greece 2018)

Rethymno's Photographic Lessons - BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHY (Rethymno, Greece 2019)

Sync Cu­ra­to­r­ial Fel­low­shipSwedish Institute at Athens (Athens, Greece 2019)



interviews (selected)

URBANAUTICA (Italy 2015)

Velvet Eyes (UK 2018)

SEMIMAGAZINE (UK 2019)

OF THE LAND AND US (UK 2019)



exhibitions & film festivals (selected)

COLOR - Artists Collectiva Space (Athens, Greece, Jan-Feb 1999)

URBAN OF - Athens Photo Festival (Athens, Greece, Oct 2000)

HEAR YOU, ATHENS - Photographic Aspects and Views - Benaki Museum (Athens, Greece Sept 2001)

MOUNT FALAKRO - Trieste Documentary Film Festival (Trieste, Italy Jan 2008)

SCRUSCIU - International Kansk Video festival (Kansk, Russia August 2008)

MAESMAK - Luksuz Film Festival (Ljubljana, Slovenia Sept 2009) Best Experimental Film

MAESMAK - Strange Screen Experimental Film Festival (Thessaloniki, Greece Oct 2009) 2nd prize for Best Experimental Video

MAESMAK - Teheran Short Film Festival (Teheran, Iran, Nov 2009) Best Documentary International Competition

MAESMAK - Blown Up A la recherche des élèves de Deleuze - Exhibition curated by Silvia Maglioni & Graeme Thomson – Paris – France (December 2009)

HAFEZ FROM ANFEH - Third Nature - Antonopoulou Art Gallery (Athens, Greece June 2010)

RED POKER - Détours S8mm Film Festival (Santorini, Greece August 2010)

TI VITTI - FICTS (Milano, Italy, Dec 2012) Guirlande d’Honneur for Best Documentary

SPLEEN - No Country For Young Men - Bozar (Bruxelles, Belgium March 2014)

SPLEEN - Depression Era - Benaki Museum (Athens, Greece, Nov 2014 - Jan 2015)

LET US STOP AND WEEP - Origini - Dimora OZ (Palermo, Italy March 2015)

NABIL & CORNI - Depression Era - Biennale 5 (Thessaloniki, Greece July-Sept 2015)

REFUGE DREAMGROVE - Alien Territory - Medphoto (Rethymno, Greece June-Sept 2016)

ISOLITUDUNE - Whitelight - Shed (London, UK, March 2017)

THE INVISIBLE HANDS - Documenta14 (Athens, Greece, April-June 2017)

NABIL & CORNI - TOURISTS - Culturescapes (Basel, Switzerland, Oct. 2017 - Jan. 2018)

SPLEEN - CRITICAL ARCHIVES III: IDENTITIES - Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete (Rethymno, Greece, Jan-March 2018)

THE INVISIBLE HANDS - Berlinale Forum Expanded (Berlin, Germany, February 2018)

HEAR YOU, ATHENS - Anatomy of Political Melancholy (Samos, Greece, summer 2018)

PHOTO-GRAPHE - Benaki Museum (Athens, Greece, Nov. 2018-Jan.2019)

SPLEEN - Depression Era - SLOUGHT (Philadelphia, USA Jan-Feb. 2019)

HEAR YOU, ATHENS Anatomy of Political Melancholy (Athens, Greece, Feb.-April 2019)

HOTEL HELLASTOURISTS13,700,000 km^3 - Pythagorion Art Space (Samos, Greece, August 4–September 30, 2019 )

MAESMAK - A Field Guide To Getting Lost Vol.2 (Aegina, Greece, Sept.2019)

LET US STOP AND WEEP - Eglise (Palermo, Sicily, Feb.2020)

ISOLITUDINE - EIGHT (Athens, Greece, March 2020)



features & editorials (selected)

PAPER JOURNAL MAGAZINE - feature (UK 2014)

AINT BAD MAGAZINE - magazine edition (USA 2014)

SUDARIO - magazine edition (Italy 2015)

APERTURE MAGAZINE - magazine edition (USA 2016)

PHASES MAGAZINE - feature (France/Greece 2018)

LIFO - feature (Greece 2018)

L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE - feature (France 2018)

REVUE CAMERA - magazine edition (France 2018)

HARPER'S MAGAZINE - magazine edition (USA 2019)



bibliography & publications (selected)

PHOTOGRAPHIC ASPECTS AND VIEWS - exhibition catalogue (Greece 2001)

SPLEEN/DEPRESSION ERA - exhibition catalogue (Greece 2011)

ΝΟΜΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΟΘΙΚΗ - book cover (Greece 2015)

KASTANIOTIS - book cover (Greece 2018)

KASTANIOTIS - book cover (Greece 2018)

POINT DE FUITE - book edition (France 2019)



contact & news

georgessalameh[at]gmail.com