Video installation – 4 channel video and 4 channel sound, 16-minutes loop
In collaboration with Vatché Boulghourjian
Narration by Rabih Mroué
Translation by Fadi El Tofeili
Commissioned by the Swiss Arts Council (Pro Helvetia) to premiere at the Ayam Beirut Al Cinema’iya (Beirut Cinema Days) in Beirut, Lebanon, 2004.
Exhibited at Invisible City, 7e Manifestation Internationale Vidéo et Art Électronique, Montréal, Canada, 2006.
Acquired by the Vehbi Koç Foundation as part of its permanent collection of contemporary art, Istanbul, Turkey.
The conceptual centerpiece of Body is a 35mm film I found in 1992 in rubble beneath a destroyed building in downtown Beirut, immediately following the end of armed conflict in Lebanon.
Upon recovery, the film was physically mutilated and its images bearing only traces of what had originally existed. Due to its deformity, the film was impossible to feed through a conventional 35mm projector. Each frame was scanned separately, over 17,000 frames were digitized at their original rate of 24 frames-per-second and during post-production particular attention was paid to preserving the color and texture of the film in order to conserve the film’s constitution and appearance as when it was found in the ruins of Beirut.
Its cinematic purpose destroyed, the film’s original content ceases to be its intended narrative; instead it is understood through its overall grammar of detritus and abstraction – the results of its literal interaction with the soil and history of the city which it has involuntarily recorded.
In effect, the film as cinema is no longer a conventional archive; it has become a physical and visual register of the discourse of post-war urbanism and its metaphysical relationship with the inhabitant and the witness.