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.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The man that turned out to be a tailor, the rePLACE Beirut Project and Urban Gentrification (Briefly)

As I am often in Geitawi, last saturday I was wandering around, taking pictures of street walls and posters for the rePLACE workshop, a mapping of Beirut project (pass by this Saturday to see the outcome of the workshop, or you can also still submit your route here.)
The classy posture of this man and his smile captured  my attention, I had to stop and talk to him and eventually take a portrait of him (not a snap, he wanted to take his time, stand nicely,... hand in the pocket or not,...). He reminded me of the Sartorialist Blog, I think he should be there :)

The gentrification of Beirut is another issue that should be talked about more also. It is somehow ironically slowed down (more in areas like Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze, but also Geitawi) by the old rent laws I previously mentioned here, so how can we have less gentrification and a fair rent law for all?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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