Seeking Traces

This work departs from a personal failure: on my travel to Beirut, I couldn’t visit the Arab Image Foundation nor even talk to any of its founders and workers. The institution was closed and engaged in the organization of a cultural strike in support of the current Lebanese Revolution. Instead of an attempt to map out the territories of the AIF extensively, the work will focus on three specific encounters that happened by chance on my visit to Beirut. Seeking Traces is understood, first, as the personal hunt for the institution across Beirut, and second, a reflection on the importance of the marks in the objects collected by the AIF: if the blurry limits of AIF’s territory are merged with the blurry limits of the city itself, the traces in the negatives and photographs—evidence of the passage of time and conflict survival—are likewise present in the buildings and streets of the city of Beirut.

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Columbia University, 2019