The curator, far from the associations the term might conjure in the context of contemporary art today, was originally a custodian. S/he was the one who cared for a collection, who cured and preserved its narratives, restored the voices within it back to health. With this in mind, we wonder if one could curate Beirut, and whether the act of curating might still hold within it the infinitesimal ability to heal.
Given the history of this city, it is difficult to talk about the destruction of Beirut today without falling into age-old necrophilic tropes. But one cannot curate this place without grappling with decay, without trying to hold disintegration, without breathing the density of death lingering in the air like thick dust.
We know that there can be no healing alone, that it can only be achieved collectively, like justice, like freedom. Yet, the need to survive doesn’t always bring out the most noble version of ourselves, and we are not always ready to come together at the times when doing so is most urgently needed. Maybe it is about clarifying the terms of this coming together: who gets to come, where, and to develop what common practices? What seems certain to us is that no collectivity is possible without love, without pleasure, without care and without politics.
For our 5th cycle of Micro-Commissions, we have approached 4 collectives to ask each of them to care for their Beirut, through 4 interventions by 1 or 4 or no artists.