OPEN CALL – SCARECROWS
From the Rooftops
Brief + Guidelines
From the Rooftops is a growing community garden that needs talismans of protection. We need scarecrows that fend off birds, but that also protect against the much larger and more vicious scavengers that surround us. We need anti-capitalist scarecrows that show us the path of kinship, mutual aid and symbiosis with the land.
Beirut Art Center invites artists and non-artists, adults and children, individuals and collectives, to respond to this brief and propose scarecrows for our garden. Applicants must be based in Lebanon, and can apply by filling out this form. The deadline to apply is 27 September 2022. 5 entries will be selected by the BAC team to be installed permanently on the roof. Selected applicants will receive 50 USD in production budget and must complete the scarecrows by mid October.
Scarecrows are only effective when animated. Stationary guards that cannot be caught still, they are an exercise in giving life to objects in order to have power over other beings. Whether in their most common form, an anthropomorphic assembly of sticks, hay, and tattered clothes moving in the wind, or in their historical proximity to fertility goddesses and symbols of sacrifice and resurrection, scarecrows are endowed with the power to protect crops from crows, and land from trespassers.
Money too, traces its roots to the entangled practices of sacrifice and fertility, and signs of this genesis linger to this day. It is said for instance that the two lines slashing currency symbols ($,₤,€,¥) are derived from the horns of the sacrificial bull, and that much of the architecture of financial institutions is modeled after the altars of Roman temples. Hence too why finance derives so much of its terminology from agriculture. Growth, cycle, flow…
The predecessors of scarecrows were people sitting in fields, clapping and shouting to scare away unwanted scavengers. Today, scarecrows are replaced by technologies of toxic chemicals, loud sirens, and apparatuses blasting water at potential targets. The evolution of scarecrows, from sacrificial figures embodying local mythologies and superstitious beliefs to technological scare tactics, reflect our treatment of land as a commodity to be constantly extracted, and as private property to be protected from intruders.
Visuals prepared by Ghiya Haidar in the framework of BAC Graphic-Designer in Residence Program