All Cared for by Chains And Loops

Bassem Saad / Beirut, Lebanon — Jan 7, 2019

Bassem Saad, »All Cared for by Chains And Loops«, 2018, Planetary Glitch

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.

Bassem Saad

Bassem Saad is an artist/writer born on 9/11 and trained in architecture. His work deals with future visualization and simulation, queer fear, identity-based space and knowledge production, and market exchanges and/or interfaces that include affect, bodily pleasure, and care. Recently his work was shown in the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennial. His video work has recently been screened in Beirut, Paris, and Rimini, and he has spoken at Harvard University VES. He has also written for ArteEast, FailedArchitecture, Jadaliyya, and other publications. He is currently a resident fellow at Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace Program in Beirut.

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