إن الأبعاد في الصورة غير حقيقية
Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
2012 / 2 channel video / 13' loop / Arabic and English with English subtitles
Video Installation by Roy Dib
Produced by the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan
With the support of AFAC and YATF
A man leaves his city searching for a Casino. He does not find it. He finds a place to die.
In making this video, I was interested in producing an image of Beirut, a city that I had got to know through the television as a child. I moved to Beirut in 2001 to pursue my university degree. The lived city of that time was different from the televised city of my childhood. I decided document my existence in Beirut by creating my personal footage in order to grasp it.
My comprehension of the city, through television, was through interior spaces in studios or nightlife venues, so I decided to start this journey of rediscovery with outdoor shots. I later realized that I was more naturally inclined to document the city through my own interiors, parties and micro-scale conversations with and within confined spaces. In doing so, the archival footage from my childhood became relevant again, but I wanted all material used in producing my contemporary image of Beirut to be shot in the ‘now’, so I re-shot my archival footage with an iPhone, while the videos played on a TV screen.
Living in Beirut, I was able to produce my own image of it, but what is the contemporary image of it to those who can’t access it first-hand? In order to harvest this information, I held audio conversations with friends from Palestine to talk about their idea of Beirut. These recordings became new layers in the construction of a multidimensional contemporary of the image of the city portrayed in the installation.
The process of shooting the footage of Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than they Appear was not planned, but my daily existence in the city became a more aware one for the period of producing this work. Mundane events became iconic. Simple gestures became worthy of recording and filming. While doing so, this shift of the notion of “understanding the city” became the foreground of my thinking, distancing myself from the events I shoot. This distance became a gap that allowed me to think of being in this place, as opposed to my usual, normal existence.
The fact that the footage was shot with an iPhone camera limited the interference of security restrictions. I was just a man shooting videos of his everyday life, not an artist having a critical conversation with his city. This created an opportunity to discuss socio-cultural and identity-related topics on a human scale. Society became a dance-floor in a wedding. Sexuality became an underground theatre. Psycho-geography became a mission to find the Casino de Liban. The city became an object in the mirror closer than it appears.