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
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
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”
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