|Photo credit: Reemolution|
What better metaphor for unchecked urban growth than a landlocked lighthouse?
The tour then took us to an exhibit called “Corniche Extended” whereby students conceived of a flying piece of sidewalk that could magically transport citizens to restricted spaces such as this private pier, one of many in the city:
So how did they accomplish this? Ingeniously, the students were able to borrow an old train car (think “Wild E Coyote” cartoons) from Lebanon’s defunct rail company. They then added tiles and railing to mimic the style of the public promenade or corniche (above); i.e. a flying public space in the private sphere:
And after some pumping and pulling:
There were a lot of other great sites on the tour including this abandoned home, with the only picket fence I’ve ever seen in Lebanon:
…accessed for the first time in decades since its abandonment, presumably during the civil war, by this staircase, also built by students:
And of course the flying chair:
I’ll let you check these out for yourself, so as not to give too much away. The exhibit will be up till the 18th, with details posted on the Facebook page.
It’s a beautiful time of year for a walk around the city, and what better way to enjoy it than with the innovative, enlightening and inspiring work of students. That they were able to negotiate the use of these private locations and receive and install equipment on them from two defunct or poorly functioning state entities (the telecom company and the rail company) speaks volumes about the power of determination, even in a collapsing political context like Lebanon. Their slogan: “Beirut can still be a city where all can live and share, where all can inhabit and use…”
Special thanks to co-organizer Professor Sandra Rishani, who keeps a fascinating blog about public space in the city called “Beirut The Fantastic.”