Uploaded on Sep 1, 2009
A'Salaam Alaykum: Peace Be Upon You
An Interactive Sculptural Installation by Zena el Khalil
A'Salaam Aleykum: Peace Be Upon You was the third of the four events that featured in the Fondazione Merz's "Meteorite in Giardino 2", a visual arts exhibition curated by Maria Centonze in 2009 and titled after a work by Mario Merz, dated 1976. The "basin" outside the Fondazione- which is the space that was used as a container for the tanks of the former heating plant- hosted a cycle of installations.
The installation displayed the word "Allah" in Arabic letters: a rotating 4-meter-tall sculpture made of glass mirror tiles reflected the lights from the pink spot lights placed on the borders of the Fondazione's outer basin.
The installation included a DJ set by Ayla Hibri, who recreated the atmosphere of the Beirut nightclubbing scene, and was completed by a screen projection of images celebrating everyday life in Beirut. Visitors took part in the performance, dancing as if they were in a real disco.
*** ARTIST STATEMENT ***
"There is a thin line between reality and dream.
The problems with trying to live in a post war city are many. Nothing works the way that it should. Not even the people. We live under the threat that at any time, things could flare up again. We live under the constant humiliation of the horrible things we did to each other only a few years earlier. I remember the stories of the Holiday Inn Hotel. It is one of the highest buildings in Beirut. During the civil war, it was taken over by a militia who found it trendy to throw people off the rooftop and try and shoot them in mid air. Today we stand side by side as we wait in lines to get into nightclubs.
We dance a lot in Beirut.
Dancing, it seems, has become a form of healing. Dancing, it seems, helps us to forget why we turned against each other. As our bodies move together in small dark spaces, we begin to realize that flesh is flesh and we are all the same. As euphoria takes over, we try to forget why we used religion to kill. Why we found each other so different.
I am searching for a God that transcends boundaries.
I invite you to come and dance. To forget what tears us apart and remember what brings us together. To attempt forgiveness.
Welcome. Peace Be Upon You."
-Zena el Khalil, 2009
This installation was realized in collaboration with Galerie Tanit in Beirut and Munich.
video documentation soundtrack (in order):
. El Shams Ghabet Anouha'ha by Asmahan & Farid al Attrash
. Ana Mish Kafir by Ziad Rahbani
. Azza by Y.A.S
. Kol I Banat Bit Hebback by Houssam Husni
.Paper Planes (Afrikan Boy & Rye Rye mix) by M.I.A
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