• Rasha Kotaiche

Abandoned Dwellings

Gregory Buchakjian is an art historian and interdisciplinary artist dealing with modern and contemporary art in Lebanon, more specifically looking at political and social turmoil in the city and history.

Abandoned Dwellings is a collection of images, testimonies and a PhD thesis exploring the transformation of urban spaces in Beirut. Beirut has seen many wars, economic and social crises and migratory movement in the past 150 years. Gregory Buchakjian took it upon himself to create a project that embodies the physical scars left by the people; the space as it was, the impact of the political and social climate and the future of the spaces.

The book breaks into 4 main chapters, disclosing the survey of 744 buildings, stories and images from different artists and theorists and the work they’ve made, as well as a selection of photographic work from Buchakjian, and found archival pieces such as photographs and household items.

From this I have been taking into consideration space and place as an archive; the importance of development and transformation but also the importance of showing what was to respect the progression.

  • Pieree Hage boutrous

  • jean yves andrieux (heritage+identity)

  • sites of memory

  • rana hadad

  • ALBA Leb academy of fine arts

  • marcel duchamp

  • maroun bagdadi - bayrout ya bayrout

  • circle of deceit - volker schlondoff

  • sophie ristelhueber - ebirut : photographs

  • Beyrouth centre - ville /palais de tokyo - robert delpire

page 28 - "at the same time, as David Campany stresses, she stripped the shots "of all information that makes it possible to contextualise them"" (fig 56)

pg - "a land where time had stood still"

  • Bernard khoury evolving scars

  • phantom beirut - ghassan salhab

  • ghosts of memory

  • richard nickel

  • save what can be saved

"rather than produce purely documentary evidence"-"scenes in which a human, female presence appeared in a ruined interior" pg 35 (raising questions)

(consider lebanese cinema)

(look into lebanese photography of the 1900s)

"the body of beirut mirrors the bodies of its inhabitants" pg 35

  • Nadia tueni (hamasat) - maroun bagdadi

pg 35 - "despite the fact that the body is doomed to die, from this point of view it can still be considered as "an archive and host to a collective memory""

  • Rebecca Schneiders theory "performance can centre on what is left, rather than what has been lost"

Letting each person perform as dictated by their body, their sensibility and their feelings and interaction with space

  • lebanon/pathos

  • ninfa


with Lebanon in the midst of pushing for change, there is risk of destruction and loss of its architectural design, community, tradition, history

they are fighting for development

which requires destruction to get to the next step

history is being made

memories are being made

at the extent of mentally destroying some so that the future generation do not have to experience this

everything we do is finding the definitive answer and result so the future generation can just live happy and enjoy what we as people have made

we keep pushing for greatness

constantly trying to top what already is

is there an end? where / when does it stop?

(importance of history)

we must recognise all that went through to appreciate what is now, not just accept it for what it is


recognise what must stay

  • find abandoned places/things : effects of history (what are the stories)

  • sites of memory for my family members > history of now

  • present day history

  • what can be saved: memory of people

  • -look into dia dos le muertos

  • roman ruins are looked after; what will be our present day ruins? (trvallers tales, tourists visitng the colonisers remains?)

  • the postal system (address)?

  • train system / public transport

  • note down stories from family : incl. ones that triggered development/change