MONUMENT TO DUST

In the beginning, there was the will to sit, write and remember. And then, as I engaged further into the process, the realization hit: memory is a prison and I am a captive in a jail of my own making. In the beginning, there were objects; material presences that demanded words in order to be rendered intelligible. These are the residues of the lives and trades of my family and they lay scattered across warehouses, shelves and closets, gathering dust until the question of their survival arises. These are the ruined remnants of my parent’s lives that have over the years become silent witnesses to a forlorn age; and I have become the carrier of their cumbersome and crushing weight. These are the stories of my childhood, of my fathers and forefathers, stories of wars, exodus and aborted transmissions. They are moments stolen from the past and aid down at the feet of an unrelenting future. They carry the hope of transforming the sum of all those defeats into an overwhelming victory: a monument to dust.

Presented in 2015 at The French Institute in Beirut.

 

Monument To Dust is an installation embodying through a set of personal objects and narratives the core question of transmission. Putting my very family under scrutiny I studied the circumstances under which some objects and memories were transmitted and others not. What the installation highlighted was the disruptive role wars have successively played in the history of my family and the often miraculous and desperate attempts to rescue culture from utter oblivion.