Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ashrafieh - Stairs from Fassouh to Azarieh


Stairs known as Azarieh Stairs - one of many Ashrafieh stairs

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's a Full Moon This Morning - Beirut

7 am in the morning. I am driving above Bourj Hammoud, on Yerevan Bridge. Suddenly, there is traffic jam, surprisingly it is not so bad. we are moving, but slowly.
The sky is blue with stunning cold autumn day colors and a full moon just in front me. I can feel the sun coming out from behind as it lights the clouds.
When I got close to the tunnel, the moon disappeared behind the hill, only to appear again, once I got to the end of Charles Helou Avenue; while crossing the Ring. Only this time, 10 minutes more into the day, the sun is shining, covering all the facades with its soft light. the moon standing there a bit shyer, romantically fading behind the Murr building.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3 months after the rePLACE Beirut workshop

 During the rePLACE Beirut project, I took some close-up portraits of the political candidates posters of Rmeil and Geitawi; the Blues Collection.
At the same time, I wanted to frame the faces for the public to "see" them because they are becoming unseen decor from the street - until they fade out completely. So I Framed, with tape, a series of portraits, a bit more then a couple of months later, this is the result.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Turkey says: Seize the moment (oh, and... forget the past!)

Poster pasted on a billboard advertising for Tourism in Turkey says: "Beware of Turkey, the new Ottoman face"
For some time now, we can travel to Turkey without a Visa, quite a privilege for the Lebanese passport owners. I went to Turkey back in 2003 when I needed to get a visa, but I know many who went to Turkey lately and enjoyed it, specifically because it is "convenient holidays" : no visa, close by, affordable. But, not everyone is happy about it. Indeed, yesterday I spotted a poster that says "Beware of Turkey, the new Ottoman face" posted on the Billboards.

The Lebanese emotions for this neighboring country vary between two poles : Anger from the Ottoman period and from the state not recognizing the (obvious) Armenian genocide and ...Delight watching the Turkish Stars of the soap opera shows.

I'd say take a holiday; turn off the TV.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sioufi Public Garden Is Connected

 "Internet in Public Gardens across Lebanon"
 So, I decided it is time I pay Sioufi's public space a visit for the first time.

The internet is of the slow kind, but still, you can access you emails and check into Facebook while looking at Mount Lebanon (I did not dare load a youtube video).

On another note, I do not get why they ban picture taking in the gardens in Beirut. so I took a few photo, while the guards were laughing near by. They said nothing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Le Festival du film interdit/ The Banned Films Festival

With a name like that, the festival managed to attract a huge number of media, even though it was a small 5-movies-film-festival initially. Of these 5 movies, 2 got censured, again : Green Days, on the iranian revolution of 2009, directed by Hana Makhmalbaf (story on iloubnan) and "Chou Sar" directed by Degaulle Eid, about the massacre of his family during the civil war. It was banned by Lebanese General Security for “inciting sectarianism”.

Well, I would like to see these two films and decide what I think about them on my own.

Oh, and I promise, though I might be angry about the History of my country, I won't kill anyone after, I believe such a movie would be more of a cleansing bath for a really sectarian society that is in fact nurtured by this kind of censorship.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May Rain II

 No one went on a muddy off-road trip this morning, it's just muddy rain- the muddiest I have ever seen in Lebanon. It left the city - and the cars all dirty, making me wish for a 3rd round of rain this May, the heavy-cleaning-the-city kind of rain (like May 13nth rain).Beirut needs a clean-up before the dry Summer season...

Monday, May 16, 2011

May Rain

Photos from May 13th 2011

Photos from May 13th 2011

Yerevan Bridge usual winter "lake" - Photos from May 13th 2011
Forget "Au mois de mai, manteau jeté." and "En avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil ; en mai, fais ce qu'il te plaît." after all Winter and the first rain of the season started the 6th of December this year, days after I visited the Shabrouh Dam

Monday, May 9, 2011

Who is Omar Daouk? He saved Bab Idriss

Omar Daouk Street is now Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Street.
When I saw this sign with a friend we wondered whether this is Bab Idriss turning into a Qatari-Sheikh-Street... Luckily, we still have Bab Idriss, it's Omar Daouk that is gone. Tried to search for him on the net, no trace of who he was (Any input is highly welcome).
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Street sign

Bab meaning Door in Arabic, Bab Idriss is one of the main entrances to the old city of Beirut when it had a wall around it. While most of the other "Bab_" names of streets are lost, this one still reminds us of the history Downtown Beirut holds. Keep it.

Bab Al Darkeh 1848

Bab Al Saraya 1920
Bab Yaacoub- 1906
Bab Al Darkeh- 1848

Google maps still calls it Omar Daouk Street. Click to enlarge.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Since we've got the permission, don't ask about the reason

"if God grants, don't ask about the reason" and when Man takes? should we ask about the reason?
The Arabic saying posted on the bulldozer means "if God gives, don't ask about the reason", but I read it at first as "Since we've got the permission, don't ask about the reason" partly because of the rust eating some parts of the first half of the sentence, and also because I believe that this is the actual situation (poor eye sight problems, but with some vision ;) ).
The bulldozer is parked on the plot of the Ex-cinema Vendome building and the future Aya Tower, where the protest against the demolition of Mar Mikhael (organized by Save Beirut Heritage) took place.

Why would the real estate companies care about old Beiruty buildings and heritage when the ministry and municipality does not & gives legal permission to demolish? ...also, when there is a call to protest only a few really answer the call and physically show up (only around 50 people came to the protest, although online the save Beirut Heritage group has 7000 members and 600 people said they would attend the Sit In), still, online support is better than no support...

They will try to save the Façade of the building on this adjacent plot
Aya Assassin Graffiti

Beirut or BUYrut?

the few people at the Sit in

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Blues Collection

I walk the streets of Geitawi daily. I see posters of unknown past candidates of local Makhtara elections fading to blue. The posters lasted more than they were supposed to. When I asked the people in the neighborhood about them, nobody seemed to remember their names anymore.

Whether the candidate won or lost, the street wall remains a wall of fame. His image might last long enough to make the face - or what is left of it - part of the public imagery that people know, but can't quite frame.

The residents of Beirut neighborhoods - and among them Geitawi - keep a seat outside their shop on the sidewalks to relax and people watch or to keep a parking space for their customers and family members. Sitting outside is claiming the streets.

if the walls are for the candidates, the street is for the inhabitants. the seat is theirs. The view - of the street and its wall - is theirs.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The rePLACE Beirut Open Studio Day

Christophe Katrib's Route Hijacking Public Space
George Haddad's impossibility of a straight line
The Wonderful 3 organizers: Elaine, Fotini and Daniel.
Christophe seeing Lynn Kodeih's Route

April 16th, the rePLACE Beirut project concluded its workshop with a work-in-progress presentation of activities organized over the course of a two-week exploration of the city by way of the everyday routes of its residents (see Via overlapping discussions, documentation and hours of walks through the city, participants developed individual and group projects to reflect and react upon or make imaginary propositions for the city of Beirut. We began with a failed map in order to find a course for divergence, whereby tracing routes left by others becomes an impossible task: the map is lost after a coffee break in Achrafieh, the workweek/weekend population divide on bus no. 2 changes the landscape completely, and our memories bleed all over Hamra in a way that diffuses place into an overflow of gestures and signifiers. The resulting set of detours are informed with a very Beiruti sensibility; they are landmarks not as monumentalized structures, but as tools for navigation and agency within the archive. Here, the archive is the flow of Beirut itself. (text via the organizing team)

rePLACE BEIRUT workshop participants:::
Sivine Ariss
Lara Atallah
Jad Baaklini (Jad's article about rePLACE on Hibr here)
Maral Der Boghossian
Paul Gorra
George Haddad
Elaine W. Ho
Christophe Katrib
Céline Khairallah
Lynn Kodeih
Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga
Lina Sahab
Tayfun Serttaş
Mikolaj Starowieyski

I guess Lina's picture turned out to be quite nice.
Maral Der Boghossian route from Mar Mikhael to her father's shop in Bourj Hammoud

My Route Focusing on Fading to Blue Posters and Seats in Geitawi
When I first discovered the project, I submitted my route here, many of the submitted photos already exist in the blog, since it really is a route I take daily and an area I appreciate and love wandering around. I invite you to submit your routes, sharing your personal Beirut.

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