From Saturday, June 2, 2018 to Saturday, September 1, 2018.
mor charpentier is pleased to present Marwa Arsanios' solo show Falling is Not Collapsing, Falling is Extending. Drawing a parallel between two distinct moments in Beirut’s postwar history, Marwa Arsanios’s research looks at the emergence of neoliberalism in Lebanon since the beginning of the 1990s. On the one hand, Arsanios evokes the vivid memory of the 2015 garbage crisis, which continues to be present today. On the other hand, she revisits the reconstruction project of Beirut’s city center as the one moment that catalyzed the growth of the real-estate dream which was based on land reclamation mostly from the rubble of destroyed buildings and garbage dumps.
Starting from those situations, this exhibition addresses the threatening long-term transformations that are brought about the system of late capitalism, and the local reverberations of this system on Lebanon’s environmental and sociopolitical reality.
Marwa Arsanios’s installation takes the spaces of different garbage dumps around the city of Beirut to look at the accumulation of waste and its relation to strategic real estate development. It is made of different elements that come together in one spatial installation; a digital video and a series of small topographical models of the city’s landfills such as Karantina, Costa Brava, Marina Ddayeh and Linor, in addition to a suite of drawings of the flora and fauna that survive the toxicity of these dumps.
The topographical models of the landfills show only the most basic contours and features of these sites, and suggest that they are simply empty spaces to be filled. The models are meant to function as “cartographies of extended lands”, in the artist’s words, that will become “inaccessible islands built on rubble and garbage, where real estate havens will be created”. The models show that the landfills are actually part of a new form of empire building thinly veiled as redevelopment and capitalist progress. The topographies also work as a mapping device for the different dumps, land extensions and plans for land extensions, bringing together in one space the different temporalities of these development projects. Meanwhile, the series of drawings of fauna and flora takes the ecosystem of the garbage dumps in order to map out the living beings around these spaces.
The film takes as its starting point the destruction of the building where the artist herself grew up and moves into looking at how rubble is used as a material on garbage dumps, mixed with waste in order to build land extensions that are then turned into real estate havens. It has been one of the strategies used by real estate development in order to gain land and privatize the seashore. It attempts to look at matter and material in its intrinsic relation to real estate and economy, and to look at the real estate economy from the perspective of matter with all its histories, but furthermore to deal with the viral side of history.