وقوف على الأطلال
... No other memory remains for the time of my childhood, and I have even forgot my father's features. Of my mother, a floating figure, I only remember the smile that covered her face and a gold ring, set with a pearl, that she wore on her ring finger.
But I have not forgotten the last chapter of my life there, the one that led me so far, under the sparkling sky of this "White Middle Sea". Nothing changes here, and I can never escape this shore, no matter what distance I traveled on rough waves.
I have not forgotten that chapter, but I have rejected it, fearful for my sanity.
I know now that the day I walked on that sand, my memory, everything I once experienced, has become a book that forgets its pages. No sooner does a precise memory emerge on the surface, that it vanished into an abyss, into oblivion.
My life is written on sheets, that no binding can assemble, and the wind disperses when I brush them.
The poems and prayers I repeated once in solitary recitation, or with my grandmother, those that all the elders of my tribe knew by heart, I have forgotten!
And since I am me, now deserted by all memories, crawling like a red crab on the glowing sand, what can I do but remember that one chapter of my life, so long avoided, that led me so far? Before the solitude and the tears break me apart.
Perhaps my soul that dwells in this labyrinth of sand will finally find a bit of peace?
Perhaps the darkness of the well of my childhood will close in on me?
Perhaps I will finally find, among the wrecks and their sedimentations at the bottom of the sea, a trail to walk through the human world and finish performing that poem?
LET US STOP AND WEEP (ongoing since 2000)
LET US STOP AND WEEP is a body of work inspired by the poetry and life of Imru’l Qais – امرؤ القيس, an Arab poet and author of one of seven famous “suspended poems” from the time of Jahiliyyah, the pre-Islamic era. It's composed by images, documents, archives, texts, audio-visual materials and objects that do not participate in History, they do not have causes or effects; They’re just locked in their own reality and decaying in time. They are also a meditation on origins; its ruins and wanderings. Along the way, one's self is defined by what identity has essentially lost and by a sense of amnesia.
Since my escape from Lebanon on a high-speed ferry, toward the end of the civil war, the visits to the country of my birth are rare. After several failed attempts to document these few "returns", I ended up discovering locations of unexplored territories and prohibited traumascapes*, extending my travel towards "home". Instead of approaching destination, the journey seemed endless, as if returning was impossible and self-exile had become a state of spirit.
Awaiting oblivion, these findings were morphed into short narrations, visual or written. Some elements were rescued out of the Treasure Island's box called 'childhood' and some were lost forever. Since the beginning of this journey, I also harboured some objects and items, 'survivors' from my own and other relatives' migrations. They became the only witnesses to my narrative footprints.
This series is achieved through a disposition of meanings, a detailed description and a creative comparison of reality. At times, it longs to the obscene and to laceration, and others to the noble and to the sovereign.
*Traumascapes are sites associated with the painful past. Remembering and representing this bitter past plays a crucial role in shaping the future through learning and experiencing.
Burj El Murr
piece of the puzzel
the bank and the puddle
Red Poker - Détours Santorini S8mm Film Festival (Oia, Greece August 2010)