When the Beirut explosion occurred, my first thought was that of relief that my grandmother had passed a year and some before. The best hours to sit outside amongst her plants and flowers were those of sunsets.
How does one mourn when they are grateful for the occurrence of some deaths as salvation? How does one mourn when in separation, we spare the ones we love the end of their world?

 

Solace


عندما وقع الانفجار في بيروت أول فكرة خطرت ببالي، العزاء. 

ماتت جدتي قبل أن تشهد على هذه المأساة.
أفضل ساعات الجلوس في الخارج بين نباتاتها وأزهارها كانت عند غروب الشمس.
كيف يحزن المرء وهو ممتن حدوث بعض الوفيات كخلاص؟
 كيف نلتئم عندما في الفراق، نجنب الذين نحبهم نهاية عالمهم؟

Super 8mm
shot in 2015 / produced in 2021
1 minute 09 seconds

  • San Francisco, USA, Crossroads 2022, Program 4, Before you witnessed this entropy, Curated by Steve Polka
  • Dresden, Germany - 2022: Dresdner Schmalfimtage
  • Worldwide - 2021: Center of Oral History Montreal, Beirut, one year after the blast
  • Tokyo, Japan - 2021 : "non-syntax Experimental Image Festival"
  • Frankfurt, Germany - 2021: "This is not Lebanon": Film programme: We cannot determine what will make us surrender/Sent from Elsewhere, 29.8.2021, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm

Screenings

Almost a year to the explosion, I was talking to a friend about the guilt I had felt because my grandmothers had passed away while i was in canada , but every time i thought about my maternal grandmother and the fact that she lived in ashrafieh and every time I was in the midst of some kind of grieving process I would think of how glad i am that she was not alive the day of the explosion. As if her passing was given this meaning beyond just death , as if it made sense that she would pass before it all occured, like some sacrality in the timing.  This time had also coincided with more COVID confinement, which I used to revisit my archive and my mother had requested for me to send her whatever footage I had of my grandmother. I have avidly filmed Beirut and Lebanon since 2003 and specially my family because I obsess over the fact that my father's family lineage and story had been wiped during the armenian genocide. It's like a conservational complex of some sort I guess.


So as I revisited the footage and I came across a super 8mm reel that was part of a comissioned work in 2015 titled: "14 reels" , a collection of short films by 14 super 8mm filmmakers around the world.  It was an exercise of shooting without editing, the entire project  edited on the cartridge. So i  had then decided to film the journey towards my grandmother in Geitawi.


It all started with the idea of solace, of being grateful for my grandmother's passing.
So i took the footage of super 8mm I had shot in 2015 and revisisted it and throughout there was some sort of haunting, the persistence of objects of the past, not only through the port or the space but also through this reel that was being revisited and bringing its ghosts to view or allowing them a material space for return.  


The port had always been there, always in the background always casting its shadow . That explosion could have happened at that time, that exact time I was framing her face.

 

Beirut, one year after the blast
Se
pt. 22, 2021