“On Rooftops and Under the Ground” is a project by Temporary Art Platform that focuses on Beirut’s urban conditions and the challenges it faces during times of crisis. The city has been plagued by conflicts related to its infrastructure, such as power shortages, sewage pipeline failures, and a lack of garbage collection, resulting in streets filled with waste. These issues have arisen amidst a backdrop of economic collapse, widespread poverty, a port explosion, a popular uprising, and a pandemic. To explore these circumstances, five artists, Monica Basbous, Mustapha Jundi, Mohamad Kanaan, Nesrine Khodr and Lara Tabet, were invited to create urban interventions that reflect the city’s physical and social transformations due to episodes of violence.
The interventions will be installed in Beirut’s Ain El Mraiseh neighbourhood, which serves as a sanctuary for residents but also faces challenges like sewage dumping and the impact of the port explosion. By situating the interventions in this area, the project aims to provoke contemplation among individuals and the community about the city’s urban conditions, urging them to look beyond surface appearances and confront their relationship with the land, water, and sea.
The interventions aim to challenge residents of Beirut to reflect on their shared built environment and expand their perception of urban space in a city facing multiple crises. By illuminating the boundaries between built and natural environments, the project encourages active engagement with the present and the envisioning of alternative futures.
The project was initiated by Hiba Bou Akar, in collaboration with artist and scholar Mohamad Hafeda and Temporary Art Platform. The initiative has brought together a network of creative individuals, including artists, curators, scholars, and writers, who have supported each other in developing the interventions. The project has received funding through a Ford Foundation grant awarded to Hiba Bou Akar.
About Temporary Art Platform
TAP, established in a region characterised by ongoing volatility and a lack of cultural policies, aims to foster an understanding among communities, private entities, and government institutions that contemporary artists can play a vital role in driving lasting social change in precarious contexts.
In pursuit of this goal, TAP creates inclusive tools and opportunities for contemporary artists, enabling their practice to be open and collaborative, both within and outside the realm of art.
Curator Amanda Abi Khalil founded TAP as a nonprofit organisation in Lebanon in 2014 and later registered it in France in 2020. With its headquarters in Beirut and Paris, TAP organises interventions that transcend geographical boundaries, reaching an international audience.
Location: Ain El Mraiseh, Beirut
Date: Saturday, July 1st until Saturday, July 15th