In History: The Last Things Before the Last (1969), Siegfried Kracauer draws a fundamental analogy between the work of the historian and that of the photographer; both are equally grounded in a given reality that requires an interpretation.

They entertain a dialectic relation with the real world, one that requires a dependence on it as much as on a certain distancing from it. The artistic practices that developed in Lebanon during the 1990s and 2000s seem to have absorbed, repositioned and elaborated Kracauer’s ideas.

The artists of this generation, now mostly in their forties, frequently employ the photographic medium or other derivative analog technologies such as film and video. They question national historical narratives, upsetting the very notion of narrative and the use of documents, while writing and re-writing history and memory, and confusing and blurring past and present. They raise fundamental questions about the power of documents and the political and plastic value of the archive. They seek to redefine “truth” by liberating it from its factual ties, thus speculating on the fragility of historical “truth”.

What has been labeled the “Lebanese scene,” constitutes today an environment where questions on the responsibility of the artist confronted with history find fertile ground, and a place where history becomes a desired subject of enquiry for artists.

This symposium will give artists, in the presence of historians and intellectuals, a platform to discuss their continuing investment in the writing of history. The questions raised in this symposium will result in a publication to be released at a later date.

Friday, November 30th

10:30 Akram Zaatari, Welcoming note

10:40 Clément Chéroux, Opening speech

11:00 Walid Sadek

The Next of Survivors

12:00 Multiple Histories

Podium talks moderated by Clément Chéroux

- Ghassan Salhab


- Lamia Joreige

Records for Uncertain Times

13:30 Catherine Grenier

Christian Boltanski, Sophie Ristelhueber, l’histoire impossible

14:30 Break

15:30 Tony Chakar

From “One Hundred Thousand Solitudes”

16:30 Stefanie Baumann

Ceci n’est pas un centre d’archives!

17:30 Georges Didi-Huberman / Arno Gisinger

Histoires de fantômes pour grandes personnes

Saturday, December 1st

11:00 Jean-Luc Moulène / Akram Zaatari

A Conversation

12:00 The Replica

Podium talks moderated by Akram Zaatari

- Marwa Arsanios

Building and Un-building the Set

- Ali Cherri

From Earth To Space and Back

- Marwan Rechmaoui

Monuments for the Living

13:30 Khalil Joreige / Joana Hadjithomas

R.R.R on LRS, a Strange Feeling of “Déjà vu”

14:30 Break

15:45 Akram Zaatari

On Photography People and Modern Times, 38 minutes, 2010, video screening

16:30 Walid Raad


17:30 Paola Yacoub

The Coming Archive / L’archive qui vient