Under The Cold River Bed

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    Under The Cold River Bed, 2020
    Part 8 of Unconformities project
    Sculpture, (resin, concrete, soil, fabric), 220 x 160 x 20 cm, 3 slide projectors
    In collaboration with Maissa Maatouk, Hadi Choueiri and Karim Chaya
  • The Nahr el Bared refugee camp is approximately 100 km away from Beirut, close to the city of Tripoli, lying on the north Lebanese coastal road leading to Syria. It accommodated Palestinian refugees in 1949 before it became, in 1969, an extraterritoriality with its own military and political autonomy. In 2007, the Lebanese Army had to fight against the extremist group Fatah Al-Islam which had established itself in the camp less than a year earlier. During the 100 days of conflict, approximately 95 per cent of all buildings and infrastructure in the camp were destroyed leaving more than 30,000 people homeless. As digging and reconstruction work started, major archaeological discoveries were made. The rubble removing process uncovered deep stratified layers going down to as early as the Neolithic period and up to the great Roman city of Orthosia, an important city at that time and still well preserved. How are these important archaeological findings to be dealt with when so many people are waiting to return to their homes?
    The sculpture presented by the artists shows the thin membrane between the past and the future, an imprint of the sarcophagus of the camp, while documents tell its archeological, human and military history, its destruction, and its reconstruction. It is a place of geopolitical madness within the Critical Zone. (Dis)continuities, constructions, destructions, upheavals which bring endless possibilities of regeneration in the midst of chaos. “During the August 4th explosion in Beirut, the model of the sculpture was in our studio and was blown away like so many things in Lebanon. It changed our perspective and led to a new presentation of the sculpture in a vertical way similar to our upside down world.”
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