There was and there was not / This is Not Beirut
49 minutes, 1994

A Videotape by Jayce Salloum

© Jayce Salloum 1994 -2021
This tape is at the most fundamental level, a personal project;

i) examining the use and production of representations of Lebanon and Beirut both in the West and in Lebanon itself,

ii) recording the interactions and experiences while working in Lebanon, focusing on the undertaking of this representational process as a Lebanese and a westernized, foreign-born mediator with cultural connections and baggage of both the West and Lebanon and some of the disparities and disjunctions arising in each, and

iii) situating the work between genres looking from the inside out at each and engaging critically at the assumptions imposed and thus broken in this site of complexity one’s identity is found and constructed in.

Over 200 hours of Hi-8, VHS and found film material was recorded and collected in Lebanon, during the year of 1992. This project tries to make some sense out of that material and the acquisition of it, sometimes directly and at other times a sideways glance at our skewed attempts to produce works, framing the relationships, sites, subjects, and the practical and conceptual issues engaged in.

One cannot hope with this project to elucidate the terms of Lebanon's existence (narrowly if at all explicated in the West) but only to provide some countenance, inquiry and provocation and with this a chance for responses to them to be determined within a more problematized field.

Jayce Salloum

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