rePlace Beirut

workshop and collective exhibition


98weeks project studio, Medawar, Beirut from 8 April till 15 April 2011

About rePlace Beirut

The rituals of everyday life trace regular paths along streets and through buildings, organizing the solids and voids of the built environment into narratives and patterns of association. Complicated by memory and social rituals, our experience of the city is of a dynamic place, a stage for public performances and private tragedies, of significant moments and the incredibly mundane. The habits, rituals, and actions of its population, the lived experiences within the city define it as something that is always current, always in constant, random movement.

rePLACE BEIRUT begins by a public invitation to reconsider the city as an activeprocess of documenting time and place inseparable

from our everyday, livedexperience. Your participation is requested as a singular contribution towardsan alternative, collective understanding of how the city both literally andmetaphorically vibrates, or where 'the beaten track' runs rich with/counter topersonal knowledge, memory, and cultural myth. 

Anyone located in Beirut can participate by mapping out a frequent route from their day-to-day life, recording the regular patterns and particular moments associated with this journey. Simply follow the instructions to upload your route as well as text, images, video and/or sound documenting observations and discoveries made along the way.

 You can also take part following a 'tour package' prepared by someone else. Simply download the PDF map of any of the routes already uploaded and retrace someone else's everyday ritual.

Through the various stages of the project, rePLACE seeks to provide a way to understand the city, not only through its built spaces, but in the ways its residents are interacting with it in their daily lives——the routes we follow and the moments where these routes cross, overlap and run parallel or tangent to each other. This is foremost a reconsideration of history and image-making outside of our traditional understandings of these terms, where forms of heritage preservation can go beyond passive historicization and generate living processes to actively celebrate the city-in-flux.

rePLACE is a project initiated in 2007 by PROGRAM and Transit Lounge. rePLACE BERLIN and rePLACE BEIRUT are supported in 2011 by the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, the Arab Image Foundation and PROGRAM. rePLACE BEIJING is supported by HomeShop

Prohibition, Permission, Probation

Maral Der Boghossian

Taking photos in Bourj Hammoud required that I first talk to my father, who without any doubt wanted me to choose another route, like Gemayzeh, for example.

The municipality of Bourj Hammoud legalized my request for permission to take photos. It took seven days to get that piece of paper. The plan was that a policeman should escort me in order to be protected from eventual interdiction from the government's police or others.

I didn't need an authorization to take photos on Armenia Street. But I just could not understand why I would need a permission to photograph the street where my grandparents and parents live and trade.

My work was fast and premeditated.  I wish I was more comfortable and spontaneous. The people were very cool and welcoming.

In this workshop , I chose to trace on google map, the route that I take several times per week. I called it from Armenia street to Marash street. 

I wanted to share my nostalgic walk with the other participants in this workshop. Nostalgic because while walking on this route, I have childhood memories specially when I pass in front of the mulberry (a much-planted tree in Anatolia where she was born) tree that my grandmother planted some 40 years ago in Nor Hajen. 

Then, I cross the bridge over the stinky River Beirut   

to finally enter Marash street and meet the other Beirut. 

At the end of the workshop the participants, and me as well, have been able to retrace a map of Beirut on the existing google map, with our own landmarks. 

My retraced map of Beirut, showing my own landmarks. The yellow line is my route.

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