Beirut
Arrival

After midnight we arrive at Beirut airport. The line at the border police is long: a flight carrying some twenty cheaply dressed-up young women with blue mascara from Ukraine has landed just before us. Seduced with jobs in entertainment, ending up in prostitution? Hassan Choubassi is waiting for us and drives us home in his mother's Lincoln Continental. Hassan was one of the young Lebanese I met last year at DasArts, the post-graduate art laboratory where I mentored. Hassan, Ali Cherri and Rima Kadissi had a few things in common: fluent English, able video artists, obsessed by their city and not hampered by respect for the boundary between fact and fiction. As if they were following orders: Beirut will be your subject, but no straight-forward documentaries! This is what brought me here. In a city with an almost inescapable history of sectarianism, cosmopolitanism and civil war, is there a new generation of artists at work who are inventing a new parallel reality of images? During his year in Amsterdam, Choubassi chose to fortify his personal sense of being lost in the modern metropolis of Amsterdam, where he sensed everything revolves about transport and movement (of people, vehicles, information and capital), by reading the work of philosophers of the technological age like Jean Baudrillard and Marc Aug�. Here, he found confirmation for his mental state of 'urban solitude', in an environment where man is no longer defined by his public image but by the observation of himself. Having no clear such observation of himself, Hassan started out by portraying himself as a non-person in a non-space. One of his works immediately seduced me: a Metro Map for Beirut. In reality, of course, no such thing exists. But he worked it out meticulously, producing a detailed pocket-size map of metro lines and stops modeled after the famous one from Paris - the city that to many Lebanese is still their second place of reference. Ri�tte, my girlfriend and photographer, spent hours with Choubassi visiting several of the most prominent stops on his Metro Map: places that were crossroads on the demarcation line between the Christian East and the Muslim West parts of town during the civil war of 1975 to 1990. How do these places look today, and what were the stories behind them?



edit Googlemap
Longitude:

Latitude:

Zoom:

Gmap:


Point:
Point:

Longitude:

Latitude: