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Mariam Ghani: a brief history of collapses

January 13, 2014 8:00 pm

Language: English

In the context of the exhibition contre nature by Kader Attia, Beirut art center is inviting the new york-based artist Mariam Ghani and the curator Rasha Salti for a conversation around the video a brief history of collapses.

A brief history of collapses exploits the uncanny architectural similarity between two buildings constructed two centuries and a continent apart – the museum fridericianum, built by Simon Louis du ry in Kassel in 1779, and the Dar Ul-Aman palace, built by Walter Harten in 1779 in Kabul – to frame a two-channel video that explores the similarities, divergences, and connections between their present and past conditions, uses, narratives, and contexts. two cameras track in tandem through the spaces and levels of the two buildings, in perpetual pursuit of two figures that continually escape the frame, while voiceover narration (so dense and fast that it too occasionally escapes apprehension) winds back and forth from building to building, city to city, past to present, history to myth and back again. Movement and narration are choreographed across both channels, but a different specter is pursued in each place: one camera chases a ghost of the past that can neither be revived nor reconciled, while the other chases an unrealized vision, the possible future that can never be made fully real in the present. In another sense, each building serves to haunt the other: when the fridericianum, which was once a ruin but has been restored, is juxtaposed with Dar Ul-Aman, which remains a ruin, each could be understood as the past or future of the other.

Directed & narrated by Mariam Ghani, with choreography by Erin Ellen Kelly and music by Qasim Naqvi.