I do want to do something.

Intimate Properties
January 28, 2010, 4:53 pm
Filed under: 98 weeks research project, Cosmic love

I am starting with 98weeks a research on arabic/ Lebanese culture and arts magazines, published from the 50s on. The idea is to collect and present these books in the Bidoun Library in April 2010. I have found this little kitab book that I really like. It was published in Egypt in the 50s.

I have just read out loud Benjamin’s essay on book collecting, Unpacking my Library.His essay arose a couple of interesting thoughts in relation to archiving,  the public and the private.

I first was slightly disturbed by the overtly passionate description of collecting and the atmosphere that accompanies it; an infinite quantity of dusty and chaotic crates containing books with each a singular history and memory. Benjamin moves on to describe the chaos implied in a collection (which is also associated with a chaos of feelings and affect; one could kill to have a book), to the precarious order of classifying and arranging these books. As I have understood it, one does not goe without the other (and indeed if there is a counterpart to the confusion of the library, it is the order of the catalogue” ).
Passions for book collecting also do not go without a particular economy, the one of property, or more precisely of possession. How does a collector acquire his books and how does his relation to books determine the act of collecting?
A collector is a book borrower that does not return the books; his act of purchasing must also be accompanied by the ritual of it; meaning that to acquire books in a conventional  bookstore won’t do. His acquisitions are linked to particular cities and journeys that comes with memories of hidden bookshops. An enterprise that is similar to a quest that resolves itself in an encounter between the book and the collector. In this encounter, something is brought back to life. Factors such as previous belongings, the edition, the printing press ect… are also  crucial parameters in this encounter.

The particularity of acquisition activates an economy of loss since the property of the object is material but also shares a border with life. It is an intimate property rather than a private one. This is the reason why, when a collection becomes public, it looses what made it a collection, mainly its collector. The collection seems to be the impossible relation between life and the object.


98weeks project space !
August 1, 2009, 9:01 am
Filed under: 98 weeks research project




I have to think about it
December 28, 2008, 4:24 pm
Filed under: 98 weeks research project, Beirut notes, Learn me how to read

C. “don’t think about it to much”.

As things move on, at a pace that does not really allow any clear understanding of where we are heading and how , the dialectic between what has been done /is still in the doing, and the questioning of these actions or projects questioning their very projection, is not that clear in fact. When are we thinking and how do we think about what we do ? When does it become clear, a name becomes an action, and finally, you’ve got something, or you found something, you are into something .

M. “that’s because she hasn’t found anything yet

Is there a way to get there that is more efficient than another, or does it take a long long detour to finally have that feeling of precarious lover’s communion between you and the world. Some would say that there is no separation anyways, that there is no distance.

Navigating all this can then become a process of stripping off all that has been added and getting to reactivate what has, in a way, always been there, the child perhaps.

The thinking, maybe paradoxically, has to be effected in that sense, working the way to something vital, a pulsating beat. (the heartbeat of contingency). Listening then may be more appropriate.

Not to fall again, withing the classical binary of thoughts and emotions, I’d rather see that process as a choreography, writing, undoing, shaking and dancing. ( “an unrehearsed pas de deux” as S. would say? ).

Bring the stuff in
November 23, 2008, 10:02 pm
Filed under: 98 weeks research project, Beirut notes

Marwa and I were talking about curators today. She was saying how much they needed the artists, I retorted that yes, but the same worked for the artists. According to her the exchange and the economy was not equal. I was not quite sure…

This conversation really rendered visible the divide between artists and non. There was the side of the artist, which I couldn’t have access to, meaning that there was the market, the system etc. etc., but there was something else that made the artist invaluable in a way that nothing could account for. Something to speculate on. Not to fall in that old myth, but there was a certain independence, a desecrated aura that spares the artist’s art from the ultimate explanation. Artists would probably not agree on that. Learn from the artist, learn from the practice is what two of my formers professors once told me, in two different lives. At the moment, I feel like getting closer to practice. The practice here can be defined in different ways, but even in “curatorial” work, the projects we do with 98weeks, I have an increasing desire of doing projects that come closer to “art projects”. Something that eventually does not need to be fully accounted for, where the responsibility is shared in a different way, the engagement is not as designed, no mission statement. At best a manifesto. In short, reduce the distance that in fact, does not exist.
This is a detour that does not necessarily link of what I wanted to say about curators. On that same afternoon, in fact, we met a real one. She had a perfectly articulated language and used long sentences to say very simple things; such as her position against representation, what she was interested in and what she was not interested in. (In fact, this seems to be a clear denominator amongst curators, they always state that they know what they want and don’t.). She was mainly explaining that she thought shows in Europe about the Middle East simply did not do it, and I agree with her on that point. But for me it was not a problem on whether they did a show on coming out of Beirut or a more thematic show on the law, intoxication, eroticism and politics or gravity, including some artist from the Arab world, but not under such banner.
Even if the question of how to “represent” artist from the region is a question definitely worth considering, I also think that the dynamics of that representation-exchange should change in fact.
Curators, artist, collectors etc are coming to Beirut to learn more about the art that is being produced here, however, there is no interest in showing things here. Why not present the artists they work with, some of the works they have done, some of the art they have produce? Technicalities can be dealt with. I personally think if that if there were more exchange and exposure between what comes in and what is taken out, this could affect the local artistic production, and make it less categorizable.
So Marwa and I would like to do a project space. Would be cool to call it Acapulco.

Workshops and other things
March 25, 2008, 7:51 pm
Filed under: 98 weeks research project

This is to say that the 98 weeks research project is definitely launched ! (www.98weeks.org). Our first workshop will be lead by the Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa and will revolve around the theme of the “ruin” in the city. The workshop will last 1 week and will take place at the beginning of September 2008 in Beirut To discuss the topic of the ruin in Beirut, we are organizing reading groups for people interested in participating to the workshop . If you are interested in the project and would like to take part in  the reading group or/and to the workshop, let me know.

98 weeks research project website
December 5, 2007, 8:34 pm
Filed under: 98 weeks research project

Coming up…

98 weeks (“and so much to learn”)
November 21, 2007, 10:22 am
Filed under: 98 weeks research project

My cousin/ partner and I are starting an association, 98 weeks Research Project, based in Beirut. Check out the first article by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie published in the Daily Star Lebanon of the 21st  of November 2007.   

http://epaper.dailystar.com.lb/ (cultural page)