October 9, 2002 - Parachute - PARACHUTE #108 “Beirut”
October 9, 2002

PARACHUTE #108 "Beirut"

PARACHUTE

PARACHUTE #108

“Beirut”: a pivotal city between contemporary art and the Arab world

www.parachute.ca

e-mail: info@parachute.ca

PARACHUTE #108
“Beirut”: a pivotal city between contemporary art and the Arab world

Montreal, October 8, 2002 – PARACHUTE is launching its latest issue, devoted to “Beirut” in Montreal at the Canadian Centre for Architecture on the 10th of October at 7:00 p.m. This event underscores PARACHUTE’s ambition to further develop its interest in Beirut and the Arab world, and to pursue the dynamics of exchange initiated in this issue. Chantal Pontbriand, the magazine’s editor in chief, will present the issue to the public on this occasion. The presentation itself will be followed by a conference given by architects from the Lebanese, New-York-based group L.E.FT. The Canadian Centre for Architecture is organising and presenting this event in the framework of its Thursday night discussions held during the debate series, “Opinions”.

This issue is part of PARACHUTE’s ongoing series devoted, once a year, to those cities in the world where a confluence of intellectual and artistic activities are fostering new developments in artistic practices, transforming established dynamics, indicating new paths for understanding the current context and detecting future shifts. This issue’s goal is to identify the different characteristics, trends and players – both intellectuals and artists – in order to better grasp what is at stake in the given context. The first issue of the series, devoted to Mexico City (autumn 2001), has been a resounding success.

In light of the current conjuncture, it strikes us as crucial to turn toward the Arab world and investigate the new conditions and artistic practices that are manifest there. Beirut is emblematic in this regard, given its multicultural, multi-denominational makeup, caught between war and peace, grappling with problems of territoriality and multiple identity. The city of Beirut has emerged as a cultural hub, fostering an artistic context able to engender a critique of a modernist vision of history, with its cleavages between past and present, history and the future, the local and the global. In this political and social context, the city has become a focal point in art for the expression of such a critique, informed by writing, the image, urban space, questions of agency, daily life, concepts of change, friendship and exchange.

The issue itself deals with the specific artistic practices developed by artists living in Beirut – as well as others from the Lebanese diaspora – including Walid Sadek, Akram Zaatari, Mohamad Soueid, Mahmoud Hojeij, Michel Lasserre and Paola Yacoub, Walid Ra’ad, Bilal Khbeiz, Rabih Mroué, Tony Chakar, Jayce Salloum and Mona Hatoum. Several of these artists have themselves contributed texts, as writing – like video – is one of the preferred media for many artists working in Beirut. Solid ties link these artists whose practices and ideas have created a mutually reinforcing dynamic. Though architectural issues can be discerned in many Beirut-based practices, it is more specifically dealt with here in A. Hashim Sarkis’ text, and the project developed by L.E.FT and Amale Andraos. The issue includes a project by Gilbert Boyer, a Montreal-based artist, closely interested in Beirut’s urban setting. Organisations and intellectuals who have played a key role in structuring Beirut’s cultural context – including the Arab Image Foundation, the Ashkal Alwan Association, the Ayoul Festival, as well as Elias Khoury, Hazim Saghie and Hoda Barakat – are also featured.

Amale Andraos and the founders of group L.E.FT, Naji Moujaes, Makram, El-Kadi and Ziad Jamaleddine are international Lebanese architects. Working along with Rem Koolhaas and Steven Holl among others, they collaborated here to create a project for the Beirut issue. Choosing the form of fictional postcards, these architects propose to bring forth and reflect on cultural and political issues specific to the city.

The conference is held in English.

PARACHUTE is also launching its issue “Beirut” on the occasion of the 9th Summit of French-speaking countries, focusing on the theme of “Le dialogue des cultures,” on 19 October at the Agial Gallery. A public discussion bringing together authors and artists from issue #108 is also to be held at Espace SD on 17. Launches and panels will be held in Paris and in New York in the course of the year.

PARACHUTE is grateful for the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, the Arts Council of the Montreal Urban Community, the Fonds de stabilisation et de consolidation des arts et de la culture du Québec, the City of Montreal, and the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec.

The launch in Beirut as well as the conference in Montreal have been made possible thanks to the support of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Ministère des Relations internationales du Québec and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has also provided support for the publication of this issue.

Source > Monica Györkös t > 514 842 9805 f > 514 842 9319 www.parachute.ca > info@parachute.ca

For a French version of this information please go to: www.parachute.ca

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