– Essays about the patchwork of narratives in Beirut, Mostar och Stocksholm.
Patchwork of Identities – Joachim Granit
For several years, Färgfabriken had a unique opportunity to implement projects and exhibitions in various cities throughout our world. In Asia, former Eastern Europe and the Balkans, in the Middle East and in our immediate surroundings around the Baltic Sea. Meeting people with different cultural experiences and perspectives has taught us much. Everywhere, we have seen a willingness and a commitment to finding solutions to make our cities more livable. We have seen that there are themes that are universal. Such as democracy, transparency, as well as economic, ecological and social issues, which of course, bounce back to how cities are physically planned and built. In many cases there are structural barriers that hamper sensible development and change.
Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Michael Azar
“Wherever there is a body there is some sort of power imposing itself upon it. Marking and labeling it.” writes professor Michael Azar. In his essay “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Azar contemplates the way people tattoo themselves with stories, like logos, in order to be able to identify themselves and others. How we create enemies and friends, how we can use rumors and false histories to solidify our opposition to each other. It is a text about trying to become an individual while realizing our individuality is based solely on the stories of the dead and the calls of the living. Stories that we repeat to ourselves to either touch the truth or ignore it. Empires, weaknesses, power, logos and zombies, it is a text that scours the underworld of how we form our identity in the modern metropolises of the urban community. Of how we can come to believe we are what we are, perhaps, even when we are not. Ultimately it is a text about connections their tying and untying.
A Jump into the Water – Arna Mackic
“What stays behind after the death of a city?” Savaged beauty, bullet holes as ornaments and prejudice. In Arna Mackić A Jump into the water. We visit Mostar: gorgeously in ruins and (re)constructed in the ‘separate and equal’ fashions of the divided metropolises of today. Among this division sits the Central Zone a place belonging to neither side, almost ahistorical, of no importance to the cultural divisions that rip Mostar apart, and so it is one of Mostar’s most important places. We visit the Stari Most in search for a common urban material and symbolic language in search of a unity deeper then religion, built upon the physical joys of human life and playfulness. Mackić brings together different sources to break the architectural barriers that support difference and division and helps the reader experience the weightlessness and fun of flying while falling. “Everything that we viewed as ‘meaningless’ was left untouched after the war.” writes Mackić as the author examines the absolute importance of historical fact and how one can come to forgive it.
Beirut’s Heart – Rania Sassine
In Beirut’s Heart: The Life and Death of a Square the architect Rania Sassine contemplates the history of Beirut’s most public of spaces. Before the war Martyr’s Square pumped and siphoned the public and civic life of the city; now it remains a vacuum sucking neither life nor death and attracting only the substances of emptiness. A substance so strange and alien to the center of such a lively city. Through Sassine’s eyes we witness the various mutations of the square from its origination as a Sahat Al Bourj, Tower Square, to its brief revival of its heartbeat in the joyful thumping of the Cedar Revolution. The author wonders “Are we now crushing civic life, shared living, to point out our differences, the very same livings that used to be our strength?” and looks for part of the answer to this question in the built environment surrounding and composing one of Lebanon’s most emblematic sites.
Stocktown Blues – Nachla Libre
Nachla Vargas Alaeb, known as the poet Nachla libre. Initiated and creative director for the network Revolution Poetry.