Zad Moultaka attended the Conservatoire de Paris and has played at the Baalbeck International Festival. Zad Moultaka took part in musical collaboration with many artists around the world such as Ars Nova, Wakes, Hang notes SYMBLEMA, Musicatreize, the Netherlands Radio Choir, Schönberg Ensemble of Amsterdam, the Nouvel Ensemble Mo- derne of Montreal, the choir room of Strasbourg, the Master of the Bouches du Rhone and the chamber choir Elements. He is represented by Janine Rubeiz Gallery in Beirut.
Don't Fall, Because Whoever Fell Will Fall for Good
Multi-channel sound installation, ropes, lights
Zad Moultaka’s sound composition and installation in the dome is inspired by the aztec myth of Five Suns, which is based on the idea that the world went through a cycle of four suns and each was destroyed by either earthquakes or hurricanes. The aztecs believed that we currently live in the Fifth Sun, this world is also bound to disappear unless mankind begs for mercy from the Fifth Sun. The title of the work, Don’t Fall, is taken from the codex chimalpopoca which has been translated from Nahuatl (the spoken language of Aztec). Moultaka’s composition mixes the sounds of the artist’s heartbeats, the noise of his hair’s friction akin to the cracking of an ice floe and chants. His composition references to how mankind is gradually destroying the planet’s ecosystem by engaging in an irreversible process of globalized industrialization and moving away from nature. The ropes connecting the ceiling to the floor as an extension of the iron rods, create a feeling of confinement comparable to the human condition although, in contrast, a hope, a light is perceptible
Saadé b. 1983 graduated in Fine Arts from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France and attended a post-graduate program at the China Academy of Arts,
Hangzhou, China. She was an artist in residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, The
Netherlands (2014/2015), and the Cité Internationale des arts, Paris, France (2015).
Her work has been exhibited at Sharjah Biennale 13, Sharjah, UAE / Museum Schloss Moyland, Bedburg-Hau, Germany / Home Works 7, Beirut, Lebanon. She is represented by Marfa Gallery in Beirut.
Roy Samaha is a Lebanese artist, living and working in Beirut. He explores the boundaries of ﬁlmic language, perception of reality and the memory of personal objects with works like, Residue 2017, Landscape at Noon 2016, Transparent Evil 2012, Inheritance & Dispossession 2008, Untitled for Several Reasons 2003, and has been shown at prestigious events such us, Sharjah Biennale 13, Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah), Space Edits, B.A.C. (Beirut), Too Early Too Late, Pinacoteca Nazionale (Bologna), Home Works Forum 6 (Beirut), Disobedience Archive, Bildmuseet (Umea), Image Counter Image, Haus der Kunst (Munich), Singapore Biennale 1 (Singapore), Videobrazil 14 SESC (SaoPaolo).
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige collaborate as filmmakers and artists, producing
cinematic and visual artwork that interwine. They won the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2017.
For the last 15 years, they have focused on the images, representations and history of their home
country, Lebanon, and questioned the fabrication of imaginaries in the region and beyond.
Together, they have directed documentaries such as Khiam 2000-2007(2008) and El Film el Mafkoud
(The Lost Film) (2003) and feature films such as Al Bayt el Zaher (1999) and A Perfect Day
Their last feature film, Je Veux Voir (I Want to See), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroue,
premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2008. They are represented by Fabienne Leclerc gallery in Paris.
A Space Museum
On the 28 July 1962, Oscar Niemeyer arrived in Lebanon. That same summer, a group of Haigazian University students led by a mathematics professor, Manoug Manougian, launch two rockets into space, Cedar IIB and Cedar IIC, with the help of civil engineers and the Lebanese army. The launches and research, intended to expand “space exploration and studies” are made possible by funding assigned to The Lebanese Rocket Society by President Fouad Chehab the previous year, enabling the group to develop a fantastic scientific and modern experience. From 1960 to 1967, more than ten rockets were launched into the sky before the project was suddenly stopped, and totally forgotten.
From 2011 to 2013, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige made a film and a series of artworks about this surreal yet entirely serious space adventure. This “tribute to dreamers” critically explores the 1960s, political utopias, modernism, failures, and the dreams of science fiction and what their reactivation would produce in the present. At the end of their film, an animation sequence imagines an uchronia had the project continued in Lebanon, featuring the society’s very own Space Museum.
Invited to participate in the exhibition Cycles of Collapsing Progress and on a visit to the site, the artists and filmmakers were surprised to discover, under a helipad, a hidden Space Museum, conceived and built by Oscar Niemeyer as part of the Rashid Karami fair. The museum would have been one of the first of its kind.
These two projects—independent of each other and yet inextricably linked—are brought together here for the first time. The research and artworks of Hadjithomas and Joreige question the relationship between two contemporaneous but suspended projects, The Lebanese Rocket Society and Niemeyer’s Space Museum, “bearing lasting witness to the evolution of the conquest of the cosmos”, in the words of the architect.
In 2011, Rechmaoui debuted his UNRWA series, which included hand drawn maps on concrete, wood, and tin of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and a series of found objects exposing different cluster munitions collected after the 2006 war in Lebanon, as well as the crew whose efforts helped gather these clusters. Rechmaoui’s Pillars (2013-2016) tackle the theme of deconstruction/reconstruction with an installation of domestic objects – various materials collected from crumbled ruins of a residential building - embedded in a concrete pillar; a basic structural element in urban architecture. Flowers, pillows, among other decorative items reflect the burden of the past. He is represented by Sfeir Semler Gallery in Beirut/ Hamburg.
-If I Only Had a Chance
Ali Cherri is a video and visual artist based in Beirut and Paris.
His recent solo exhibitions include Somniculus at Jeu de Paume, Paris and CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2017); Tretyakov Gallery Moscow (Sep. 2017); Galerie Imane Farès (Oct. 2017); Jönköpings läns museum, Sweden (2017); Sursock Museum, Beirut (2016). He is the recipient of Harvard University’s Robert E. Fulton Fellowship (2016) and Rockefeller Foundation Award (2017). He is represented by Imane Fares Gallery in Paris.
Jalal Toufic is a thinker, writer and artist. Since 2015, he is Head of Art Department at ALBA, he was a Professor at the Department of Communication Design at Kadir Has University, Istanbul. Previously he has taught at the University of California at Berkley, Berkeley, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, and in Amsterdam at Das Arts and at the Rijksakademie. He is the author of The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (2009); Undeserving Lebanon (2007); ‘Ashura’: This Blood Spilled in My Veins (2005); Two or Three Things I’m Dying to Tell You (2005); Undying Love, or Love Dies (2002); Forthcoming (2000); Over-Sensitivity (1996; 2nd ed., 2009); : An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film (1993; 2nd ed., 2003); and Distracted (1991; 2nd ed., 2003). He also co-edited special Discourse issues.
The Matrix for AI et AI.
— The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher), film, 41 hours and 24 minutes, 2018
— The Matrix for Radical Simulationists (aka How to Read The Matrix as a Cypher), film, 72 hours and 36 minutes, 2018
— The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher)—A Timesaving, Perception-Taxing Version, film, 137 minutes, 2018
The images we see of the vast simulation dubbed the Matrix, at least those that are not the subjective views of the humans in the simulation, are illustrative images and sounds provided to the film spectators of The Matrix (1999) by its two directors, Lana and Lilly Wachowski. In my version of The Matrix, what happens in the Matrix is provided in Unicode (Universal Coded Character Set)—on the right side of the screen for images, and on the left side of the screen for sounds. At various periods in history, books were written and paintings were made not only for kings and princes but also for gods, demons, angels, God, etc. The narrator of the fourth of Rilke’s Duino Elegies asserts: “I won’t endure these half-filled human masks; / better, the puppet. It at least is full. / I’ll put up with the stuffed skin, the wire, the face / that is nothing but appearance. Here. I’m waiting. / Even if the lights go out; even if someone / tells me ‘That’s all’; even if emptiness / floats toward me in a gray draft from the stage; / even if not one of my silent ancestors / stays seated with me, not one woman.… / … Am I not right / to feel as if I must stay seated, must / wait before the puppet stage, or, rather, / gaze at it so intensely that at last, / to balance my gaze, an angel has to come and / make the stuffed skins startle into life. / Angel and puppet: a real play, finally”; his waiting and intense gaze is addressed not to a human but to an angel, who would startle the puppet into life, and the play is addressed, through his waiting and intense gaze, not only to humans but also to an angel. While The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher)—A Timesaving, PerceptionTaxing Version (2018), the component of my film trilogy The Matrix for AI et Al. where the Unicode sections are speeded so they take only as much time as the images they supplant, is still addressed mostly to humans, especially those who, like The Matrix’s Cypher, are trained to read computer codes, the two versions that last 41 hours and 72 hours, The Matrix for Realists (aka Reviewing The Matrix in Terms of One Cypher) (2018) and The Matrix for Radical Simulationists (aka How to Read The Matrix as a Cypher) (2018), respectively, would be addressed mainly to artificial intelligences, who would be able to read the code of the film and “see” images (since Unicode is a machine language, a machine would be able to go back from the code in my version to the images and sounds of the original The Matrix film). Nonetheless, might a human who would watch the 72-hour and 41- hour films in their entirety achieve enlightenment?* If not, might he or she, notwithstanding not having been trained to read the computer code, begin after forty or sixty or seventy hours to recognize patterns in the scrolling Unicode, then perceive fleeting images, then see whole audiovisual scenes (as Cypher, who follows what happens inside the Matrix, a simulation, by looking at the code on his computer monitors, tells Neo: “There’s way too much information to decode the Matrix. You get used to it, though. Your brain does the translating. I don’t even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, and redhead”)? Given that he did not understand the machine language though, he could not dispel the suspicion that these scenes were hallucinations that veiled the scrolling Unicode rather than being the images and sounds coded by it.
Fritzia Irízar’s work has questioned the value of money and its purchasing power, she plays with the economic and symbolic revaluation of objects as they move from their common field to art. Her work recognizes that history and science are almost fictions, built on small surfaces of knowledge and are subject to the decision of a few individuals. However, they are fictions that we want to hold: as acts of faith, of belonging, of will or certainty.
Fritzia obtained the 2011 Bancomer-MACG scholarship and a commissioned work for Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) during that same year, the residency program AIR-KREMS in Austria in 2013. In 2016 she was part of the residency program at Les Récollets, Paris and Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco. She participated in the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre in 2013 (curated by Sofía Hernández Chong), had a solo exhibition at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (2014) and participated in the 2015 Mercosul Biennial (curated by Gaudencio Fidelis). She is represented by Arredondo/Arozarena Gallery in Mexico.
-Untitled (Planned Obsolescence)
Mendez Blake sees libraries not as isolated buildings, but as constructions that hold inexhaustible sources of information, and are thus able to create microsystems that address specific issues such as landscape or love. Méndez Blake’s work oscillates between reality and fiction when merging the architecture of places like the Library François Mitterand in Paris, or the Public Library in Seattle, with landscapes –and fragments- of fantastic literature, to become cultural metaphors which meaning expands to different areas of knowledge. He was a recipient of the Cisneros grant in
2015 and has had solo shows in many instittions including Marfa, Texas. He is currently represented by OMR gallery in Mexico.
Utopía (El No-Lugar es un Lugar Real) /
Utopia (The No-Place is a Real Place)
The first edition of Utopia by Thomas More was published in 1516. The book describes an unknown island whose inhabitants live in an egalitarian, peaceful and democratic society where private property, class differences or the vices of European society of the XVI century do not exist. Over time, the term—whose Greek etymology means “no-place”—has been frequently used to describe idyllic places, perfect societies or unattainable values. The idea of modernity, which has been developing in the West for over two centuries, has also been intimately linked to the idea of utopia, associated in this case with a point in the future whose promise can be reached through progress and technology.
From another (perhaps more superficial) perspective the term “utopia” has been used as a name for different hotels and accommodation around the world, in which the idea of utopia is associated with escaping the everyday life and retiring to an idyllic place filled with well-being and pleasure. Traveling to locations in China, the USA, Thailand and Greece, Méndez Blake has visited some hotels named “Utopia” with the intention of analyzing the hotel’s architecture, documenting the city and above all, writing a letter to Thomas More from a place that really is called “Utopia”, converting the “no-place” into a “real place”. Thus, using different media, Méndez Blake creates a complex narrative, associating Thomas More’s original text with the chronicles of fictitious trips to the island and reflections on modernity and contemporary society
Gabriel Rico works and lives in Guadalajara Mexico. His work is a study of the process of
production. Originally educated as an architect, the artist is interested in exploring the compositional
possibilities of objects. He thinks of his installations as «thought experiments,» and evaluates the
human relationship to nature and myth. He previously explained: «I try to create pieces that fragment
the composition of contemporary human and evidencing the geometric imperfection in the nature.»
He is also fascinated by the interplay of philosophy and science; and uses that which is measurable
to investigate the abstract. He had solo exhibitions at Perrotin Gallery, New York and was included in
several group shows in galleries such as OMR and institutions such as MAZ Museum (Guadalajara)
and HISK in Ghent Belgium.
Through the use of wit and humor, Damián Ortega deconstructs both familiar objects and processes, altering their functions and transforming them into novel experiences and scenarios. Ortega’s works play with a scale that ranges from the molecular to the cosmic, applying the concepts of physics to human interactions, in which chaos, accidents, and instability produce a system of relations in flux. Inverting and dissecting, reconfiguring and zooming in, he explores the tension that underlies every object and the infinite world inside them. The result of his inquiries reveals the interdependence of diverse components, be it within a complex engineered machine or a social system. Although his
projects –which he envisions through drawing– take form in sculpture, installation, performance, film and photography, for Ortega the work of art is always an action, an event. His experiments inhabit a space where possibility and the quotidian converge to activate a new way of looking, one that transcends the original context of simple objects and everyday relations.
Steel sculptures, lamps.
Inspired by his mother’s handwriting, the piece is an installation of twenty-seven thin sculptures hovering in mid-air, lit individually so that their shadows project the letters of the alphabet. Passing from the 3D to 2D, the artist explores the original significance of Legere, reading in Latin, which also means ‘harvest’. The letters stand for the maturity of our languages, from which we can pick meanings like we pick ripe crops during harvest. As cultures and societies evolve, languages must follow. If they don’t, they are in danger of becoming obsolete. Thus, like ripe crop that if disregarded fades, when languages stops evolving with the cyclical development of culture it becomes obsolete. Linking the development of languages to natural cycles, Ortega offers the public a reflection on the “tissue” that makes up languages.
Controller of the Universe
Found tools, wire.
Davila’s work addresses the question about the limits of instrumental values through the use of common materials to create sculptures, objects and installation. Frequently, the nature of these materials approaches architecture and construction, as well as formal artistic production, which subscribes his work to principles coined by Minimalism and Arte Povera. Dávila has also manifested a special interest in the use and occupation of space, issues that have been present throughout his career.
He is represented by OMR Gallery in Mexico.
Tripoli, Soundscape Variations. From the City to the Fair
Multi-channel sound installation
Sound recording and mixing: Anthony Sahyoun (Tunefork Studios)
Voices: Elio Constantine and Lamia Joreige
One cannot but question the promise of a place meant to be connected with the rest of the city; a place meant for trading and leisure, a public space. The fair didn’t fulfill its expected program and never functioned in any other sustainable ways. Today, although used on rare and irregular occasions, the quiet and empty site remains largely inaccessible to the public. Indeed, only a few people can enter it, yet its scale is so big that no one can ignore its existence. It’s like a void within Tripoli. The fair’s architecture and scale are visually striking and create a sense of fascination, which the artist tried to resist when invited to work on this site in the past, by refusing to produce any visual work aside from documentation on what has now become a monument.
This situation triggered the idea for the multi-channel sound installation by Lamia Joreige, where she proposes to reconnect, through a poetic gesture, the bustling life of Tripoli with the almost secluded site of the fair. She recorded sounds in various landmarks and mundane places in the city such as the fishermen’s auction at the harbor of Mina, the successive muezzins’ calls for prayer heard from the citadel, and the lively old souks and children’s voices from Bab al-Tabbaneh.
These sounds were then played and then re-recorded inside the impressive spherical structure of what was originally designed by Niemeyer as an experimental theater, only impregnated this time by the physicality and materiality of its architecture. As the dome remains uncompleted, any diffused sound creates an echo and reverberation. The installation presents the variations on these soundscapes of Tripoli, through scattered speakers across the fairground. They are interspaced by the recordings of voices reading documents about the fair’s history: its promise of modernity and prosperity, which echoed that of a newly born nation; as well as the war, which prevented its completion, putting a halt to many dreams.
Description of a Monument
Steel plates, with text
Description of a Monument playfully refers to the plates usually placed at the entrance of monuments, public buildings and gardens, which describe their history and function. In this work, using text and drawing, Lamia Joreige takes the landmark buildings in the Tripoli International fair as a site and a pretext to interrogate and reflect on the history of the place and to a certain extent, of Lebanon: from the Lebanese government’s ambitious idea to commission Niemeyer to build the fair, up to the period of the war, which halted its construction and led to the presence of the Syrian Army in the fairground; until today’s speculative projects of reviving the fair for an uncertain future.