Bassem Saad / Beirut, Lebanon — Jan 7, 2019
Proposed is a 3D model of a dwelling space from a near-future fiction set in Beirut, Lebanon, where ecological collapse has taken the form of a protracted and evolving garbage »crisis« since 2015, along with accelerated increases in rates of different cancers and other diseases. The few provisional disposal schemes that have been speculated on convert trash into capital, irrespective of the welfare of much biological life: for-profit recycling, land reclamation from seacoast dumpsites, waste-to-energy incineration funded by waste imported from Europe. How do we come to terms with the scale and inhumanism of these processes, especially in the Global South? How can systems thinking and information theory be mobilized to these ends?
The dwelling space is that of a paranoid queer narrator who begins to believe that a localized emergent intelligence is forming around them and initiating different infrastructural projects that do not account for detrimentality to biological health and are thus increasing further the toxicity of the immediate environment. Based on research into different transnational economies of waste and care, the character carries out specific life-preserving rituals and constructs diagrammatic apotropaic objects, from wearable skin with tattooed apophenic Arabic ghubar calligraphy to an incense incinerator. Through objects and texts, I reflect on different forms of (un-)care in a space-time of high toxicity, including infrastructure maintenance and waste disposal, global care chains, and private self-care.
© 2023 Akademie Schloss Solitude and the author