Adrian Alecu THE EGG
HD Video, 16 min, 2014
In the context of Urbanism as an workspace of art, Beirut, a city full of contrasts, can be a very productive ground for art. The diversity is in Beirut not only on the cultural level but also on the level of architecture and urban planning where the influences come from different perspectives.
It is a famous city, famous for its long, maybe much too long civil war. There is a building situated in the center of Beirut, which is still abandoned, war-scarred and which behaves very strangely in the current urban fabric. It was commissioned as part of a set of modernist buildings in 1965, designed by the Lebanese architect Joseph Philippe Karam (1923-1976). The whole set was thought to be the Beirut City Center, a multi-use complex, which concentrated mainly on the hybridization of two programs: spaces for leisure activities (shopping mall, cinema) mixed with office spaces. Among the local people it is commonly nicknamed The Dome or The Egg.
During the civil war, the Egg was on the line of demarcation between the fighting militias. That now, after more than 20 years of peace, this demolished building is still there, surrounded by the fancy new buildings, perhaps is a result of financial speculation. In an other sense, however, the building is a metaphor of this city -- a cinema that plays no movies, but is still there. Cinema, the place where people forget and escape for a while from the hustle of the city, from the fast and loud scooters which are everywhere on the streets, from the depressive past, escaping into an other Universe. Living in a city as in a cinema, forgetting with cinematic speed.
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