In ART

Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis unites 17 local and international artists showcasing works examining climate change and ecological disaster at The Sursock Museum.

Humans have radically altered the natural environment over the last hundred years creating an era of planetary climate change affecting weather patterns and biodiversity. These ecological issues have had very little exploration from a regional perspective. This exhibition and its public program sheds light on themes that have not yet been creatively explored in Lebanon. Curators Nora Razian and Natasa Petresin-Bachelez bring together existing and newly commissioned works by national and international artists, architects, and thinkers raising pertinent questions concerning the relationship of climate change to social, political, and economic issues.

In the Special Exhibitions Hall, from a distance fascinating alien-like shapes shimmer on a purple wall. Upon closer inspection the colored iridescent forms resemble machine parts. The fiberglass oily pearl drill bits, part of Monira Al Qadiri’s work Spectrum present a fictional relationship between the color of pearls and oil, creating a kind of continuity of history. “The pearl industry was the main industry in Kuwait before oil and has been there for thousands of years. Oil has destroyed so much and left us with a sanitized image of culture that is very distorted”, says Monira Al Qadiri. “I almost see this as a self portrait of my generation, that is a freak generation living in a petroleum interval, which will not last”, she adds.

Claire Pentacost poses the question,”Given the consequences of our actions, can we embrace our fate and furthermore can we shape a fate that we can love?”. Her installation entitled Amor Fati, which translates to Love of One’s Fate is an oversized image of a fossil called Cyclobatis, a kind of sting ray which only existed in Lebanon millions of years ago and went extinct in the last Great Extinction. Hanging down from the ceiling above it are large hand blown glass droplets produced in Saida filled with polluted water gathered around Beirut from the Beirut River, The Corniche, and Zaitunay Bay, and below it locally made tiles from recycled paper are scattered on the ground.

Shifting the focus of the exhibition outside to the middle of the courtyard, we behold Adrian Lahoud’s installation, The Shape Of The Eclipse, a large white dome with a projection on the inside telling the story of aerosol emissions in the Northern hemisphere and how they are affecting people in the South through various scientific visualizations. “The dome is where you traditionally find images of the cosmos, whether in a Christian tradition in terms of representation of the heavenly bodies, in the Islamic traditions in terms of geometry and tiling patterns, or even in more secular traditions in planetariums where you see the stars and the galaxy,” explains Adrian Lahoud about the dome.

The artists in Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis present creative responses that reflect upon the ecological issues that have shaped the cultural trajectory of this region. They address issues that have recently become an urgent part of global discussions on the process of global change. Just as standing in the dome of Adrian Lahoud’s The Shape of The Eclipse makes the otherwise intangible topic of climate change something more tangible, this exhibition encourages its viewers to address how they feel about these urgent questions.

Artists include: Marwa Arsanios in collaboration with Samer Frangie, Sammy Baloji, Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, Design Earth, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Emre Hüner, Jessika Khazrik or The Society of False Witnesses, Adrian Lahoud, Emeric Lhuisset, Nicholas Mangan, Sophia Al Maria, Pedro Neves Marques, Marko Peljhan, Claire Pentecost, Monira Al Qadiri, Marwan Rechmaoui, and Natascha Sadr Haghighian.

Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis opening on 13 July, 2016 from 18:00 to 21:00 at the Special Exhibitions Hall at Sursock Museum. On view until 24 October 2016.

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