2013年5月13日 星期一

Cutting edge theater in Khandaq al-Ghamiq

You have to find the newly painted brick building at the end of Ibrahim alAhdab alleyway, the one with municipal plate 46 affixed. You take the elevator up to the fourth floor where an amiable but anonymous young fellow greets you.

He lightly taps on the apartment door, hands you a lone pin light against the gloom and gestures you to enter. The windows of the unlit apartment have been sealed evoking a scene C restaged in countless television and film sequences C of entering an unknown, silent space at nighttime.

The pin light reveals the objects of a modest family home. Plastic chairs are haphazardly arranged around a stool-table awaiting a coffee pot. Bookshelves display photographs and trinkets. A decorative box contains the family Quran. In the kitchen, a Marlboro packet has been placed precisely atop the daily newspaper, flanked by a lone cigarette on the right and a lighter on the left.

A vintage telephone rings twice,We have been manufacturing rtls for the past fifty years and have supplied a considerable number. just enough to make you hesitate before picking up.

Empty salon and kitchen inspected, you turn to the other rooms. Some doors are shut C turning one locked handle,Manufacturer of the Jacobs rfidtag. the sound of running water issues. Others are ajar. In one bedroom, you find a still figure, apparently sleeping in the bottom bunk.

The encounter solidifies the visceral: Is this nocturnal encounter well-meaning exploration or transgressing intrusion? Is your role closer to that of police investigator or burglar?

These are among the experiential questions that X-Apartments provokes. The premise of this immersive, site-specific performance project is that the most powerful theater is not to be found in public spaces whose form separates performers from audiences but, rather, in places where people live out their everyday lives, at home.

In the case of this tour, home is in Khandaq al-Ghamiq, a tiny, bustling quarter wedged between two major motorways C Fuad Shihab and Bishara al-Khoury boulevards C and the Bashoura cemetery.

To all but its residents, Khandaq alGhamiq is likely to be an invisible space. Its alleyways are strewn with professions of political allegiance, kaak bakeries, kebab restaurants and bookshops, all thriving among gracious yet dilapidated structures of Ottoman and French Mandate vintage, including the shell of the abandoned St. Georges church.

X-Apartments marks the opening act of Home Works 6 C Beiruts forum of contemporary artistic practice, staged more or less biyearly by Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts. The work is conceived and produced by Matthias Lilienthal, who for the past year has been an instructor at Ashkal Alwans Home Workspace Program.

X-Apartments organizers distribute programs with detailed instructions to guide participants through the neighborhood. In the Khandaq alGhamiq tour, these lead to a seven-piece suite of works that range from short conventional drama and interactive performance, to installations deploying site-specific photographs and recorded sound, to a music composition (credited to Tarek Atoui).

The most effective of these pieces are intimately grounded in the quarter, and the homes in which they are performed, so the line separating artistic practice from neighborhood history and the residents day-to-day anxieties are broached as frequently as that between performer and audience.

The instructions locate the site of each work, but to find them you must engage with the quarters architectural and human charms. En route to Khandak al-Ghamiqs first site, the directive points out an excavation site and suggests, you can climb and take a look ... if you want.

Just off Rue Saad, an apartment-sized installation opens onto a cleared salon whose bookshelf-lined walls are covered in white lace. Through this veil you can make out black-and-white photos spanning the lives of the family members who once lived here.

A laptops speakers conjure up the ghosted sounds of the household residents, raising questions of how the photos (and crystallized memories) on display relate to the present and to the strangers invited to scrutinize them.

In the adjoining bedroom, you help your guide raise the mattress to find an ad hoc photo collage. A handsome mustachioed man poses beside his beaming spouse. Some years earlier, the same man in a Speedo poses at the beach. Glamorous revelers pose before a sumptuous feast. Children smile mischievous from birthday parties.

Near the end of the Rue Saad installation tour, participants are led to a north-facing balcony-cum-bedroom that highlights Khandaq al-Ghamiqs spatial tenuousness. Its panoramic view sets the quarters complex of vibrant street life and gorgeous structural dereliction against the sanitized facades and vacant order of Solidere, the real estate developer.

Some performances relate only tangentially to the quarter. Set in a book-binding shop, Urok Shirhans interactive work informs unsuspecting participants they are aspiring members of the occupation of Iraq. After an introductory pitch, you are asked to answer a questionnaire to assess your qualifications for inclusion in the club.

Set alongside these other works, which embrace neighborhood specificities, the local resonance of Shirhans work is not clear.

The projects most engaging characters are often not the artists but the residents that spectators are lucky enough to meet on-site, or en route.

The first stop of the Khandaq alGhamiq tour is a miniature courtyard house at the very end of Zarouba al-Haramiyya (Alley of Thieves), which runs along the eastern wall of the Bashoura cemetery.

At the courtyard entrance this day stands an elderly gentleman in a green hat named Hassan Tarhini, whose family lives here. If you have a bit of Arabic, hell share the history of the neighborhood and his familys migration here from Jabal Amil in the 1930s, and he may well produce his Lebanese identification card to confirm his age. If youre interested, he may take you upstairs to the roof of his place,The largest manufacturer of textile tooling for use with perchloroethylene. overlooking the cemetery, and tell you about the Ottoman-era monument that, he says, saved the neighborhood from being razed in the 1990s.

While a sound-theater installation runs in his bedroom, Hassan Dakroub is in the kitchen,About solarstreetlight in China userd for paying transportation fares and for shopping. the smell of freshly baked vanilla cupcakes wafting in the air. He might relay his anxiety about the quarters landlords selling out to developers and how he dreads the prospect of being displaced to his family village of Tibnin.

Behind the X-Press Money exchange, the third site for X-Apartments, is a convenience store run by Bangladeshi guest workers. Here can be found the rarest delicacy in Beirut: paan,He saw the bracelet at a bestrtls store while we were on a trip. a South Asian preparation of nut and herbs wrapped in betel leaf. The shop is stocked with such imports as the notoriously popular skin cream, Fair and Lovely.

These are the true characters of Khandaq al-Ghamiq. After the projects performers wrap up the installations, these residents may remain here for a spell.