Thursday, April 2, 2020

Lebanon: Identity with an Arab(esque) face (video art by Tarek Chemaly)

Still from "Lebanon: Identity with an Arab(esque) face"
A new video art has been launched by Tarek Chemaly. Please watch it here.
Lebanon always had an issue with its Arab identity, so much that in the original 1943 constitution, Lebanon was called a country with an "Arab face" (only for this to be changed in the Taef agreement which ended the 1975-1990 war and which became the new constitution in which Lebanon became an "Arab country").
By applying arabesque (with its link to Islamic culture)  to Lebanese "iconic" buildings/old stamps/vintage postcards/historic tiles... - according to a complex mathematical algorithm I constructed - and by using the act of repetition (yet with variants despite the uniformity), made me look back at our history as a chequered past - as a both personal and collective narrative - in a new fragmented (as opposed to linear) way, especially since writing history (specifically that of the war years) is almost impossible in Lebanon).
Interestingly, the whole exercise was done by hand through painstaking use of the rudimentary Microsoft Paintbrush rather than Photoshop (joining technology with the folk movement championed by the likes of Soetsu Yanagi).