In a rapidly changing Beirut, neglected dwellings are condemned to disappear as a result of land speculation. This multi-layered transdisciplinary project aims at examining the transformations that these obsolete architectures undergo. The study, carried on site, based on archives, testimonies and oral history, also proposes new artistic perspectives towards the city.
Over the past 150 years, Beirut has witnessed a cycle of unbridled growth, war, economic and social crises and migratory movements. It is in this territory ceaselessly destroyed and rebuilt, broken and regenerated, that Gregory Buchakjian has undertaken an artistic project and a research devoted to abandoned dwellings. Disclosing the survey of 744 buildings, the collection of archives and testimonies, a PhD thesis and the creation of photographic tableaux with the subjects surrounded by sagging furniture and mounds of rubbish, the process that constitutes the present book proposes new perspectives towards the city as well as instruments to reclaim it at times it is confronted with various forms of violence.
Gregory Buchakjian (born 1971 in Beirut, where he lives and works) is an art historian and photographer. PhD graduate at Université Paris IV Sorbonne, he is assistant professor at Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA) where he co-founded, with Pierre Hage-Boutros and Rana Haddad, Atelier de Recherche ALBA (1997-2004), a transdisciplinary platform that triggered public interventions in issues such as memory and space appropriation. His research and publications focus on modern and contemporary art in Lebanon and the Arab world.