Through architectural renderings and models, video, and topographic maps, the artist Marwa Arsanios addresses the changing landscape of Beirut, the city where she lives and works, which has been marked by the rapid development of its urban spaces and burdened by a recent garbage crisis.
Drawing a parallel between two distinct narratives in Beirut’s recent history, Arsanios’s research takes aim at the aftermath of the neoliberal project that took shape at the beginning of the 1990s, in the years immediately following the end of Lebanese Civil War.
After the closure of Naameh landfill outside of the city in summer 2015, thousands of tons of garbage filled the streets of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, leading to public outcry and accusations of government corruption.
Although the recent growth of art museums and other cultural institutions throughout the city, alongside a boom in commercial real estate development, has increased Beirut’s international profile, a number of building projects remain fallow, and overflowing landfills threaten the city’s environment and the health of its population.
A new project by Arsanios speculates on these developments as part of ongoing issues in Beirut’s history, while pointing to the broader political, social, and cultural implications for Lebanon.