Friday, February 6, 2009

"Durrafourd, mon amour"

"Durrafourd, Mon Amour" - a film Some things, in the all-so-happy Beirut city, are taken for granted: the nescafe at uncle deek, a barbar snack, the military tanks on the sidewalks and the abrupt tearing down of abandoned once-inhabited sculptures, some call buildings. It has become so mainstream, that we seem to be blinded away from the roaring Komatsus munching chunks of our once beloved concrete, and deafened by the industrial beat-boxing of these public murders. It has become clear, that most of us do not care anymore - at least by how we tend to eyes-wide-shut. But, what if walls could talk? Durrafourd 2008-2009 The durrafourd buildings on the Beirut sea-side corniche have been adopted by the American University of Beirut campus and planned to be demolished, making room for yet another addition to the AUB campus new building family. It has been a while since the demolition was pending - the buildings frozen - restricted access. The random greenery has made it clear for all the corniche goers that this is where they do not belong,the buildings look creepy to the uninterested and a 'whopper' to whomever relates to the city as personal property. So i suppose it was one warm night in her achrafieh apartment, munching dried fruits and sipping an almaza, that she would seriously consider that Durrafourd would say something - if we ever asked; thus mission GRDS 045: If Walls Could Talk, a stop motion animation endeavor - an initiation of a conversation with Durrafourd, by Lina Ghaibeh. It all started when fifteen students jungled up the dusty stairs, decayed walls and wide open doors of this bold structure, once inhabited by the syrian troops in lebanon thus saturated with wall doodles of bored armed men, melancholies and reminces of lovers and the homeland. the place smelled like it was hungry for something, eager to talk and this is exactly what it got. the building was opened for the students all week for about one semester to create stop motion animations via wall graffiti mainly, and anything that would tickle an artsy fartsy fantasy. the floors transformed from naked empty spaces to paint ridden, tripod mined lunchbreak picnic zones, in between shooting - painting - shooting - moving - shooting - panting. The walls decayed of abdelhalim hafez, spoke of mushrooms, spiders, and hunting fish. The floors flirted with rolling ponies, black angels and oranges. the shelves held sets for sliding midgets, and closets as platforms for shouting doubles. durrafourd was having the time of her life. You would think this is meaningless, just by considering the fact that this is not going to change the fact that Durrafourd is still going to be demolished - but take that: this playful spatial rummaging of the durrafour ended with an-as-close-to-improptu screening as legally possible on the fourth floor of Durrafourd. the little opening with broken cmu blocks made the perfect projection hole, and the corridor niche became the backstage. the broken window shutters fed the surprisingly functioning fireplace, much needed with the storming weather outside. From the balcony, the waves splashed white bubbles high above the corniche, to the south, the AUB campus twinkling lights - inside an almost sufficed bunch of artists and friends sitting on the ground sipping some drinks and eating 'bizir' listening to some music, then watching the projected compilation on the cracked skin of Durrafourd. It makes you think, it has never been the black and the white - we just need to look at it differently. Durrafourd never wanted salvation from it demolition, it knows it has to die - it just needed a little love - and it got it, "Durrafourd, mon amour" Raafat's blog is: www.leit-mo-tif.blogspot.com
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