Let’s Talk About the Weather – ACT’s Jessika Khazrik or The Society of False Witnesses exhibits at The Sursock Museum

Sursock Muesum

Opened in 1961, the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum is an art museum dedicated to collect, preserve, and exhibit local and international art and artists. Their goal is to continue to provide a place for artistic expression and experimentation in the region.

About the Exhibition

Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis is held at the Sursock Museum in Beirut, Lebanon. The exhibit assembled 17 local and international artists whose work specifically addresses how the world has adapted and must adapt further, to combat growing climate change and ecological disasters.

Exhibition contributions from The Society of False Witnesses

Waste eats your histories

140 photographs

This photo-based exhibition is part of Blue Barrel Grove (2014-ongoing), a project re-investigating the history of illegally imported waste in Lebanon, and its resurgence in the present.

All the flowers that were thrown on my head come back panting

4 photographic collages

The Arabic etymology of waste, nifāyāt, is derived from the verb nafā, meaning “to exile” as well as “to deny”. These photographic collages follow from the artist’s writing on waste as exiled matter that often exiles the spaces it inhabits.

While re-investigating the case of toxic waste trade brought illegally from Italy to Lebanon in 1987—some of which was dumped near Jessika Khazrik’s childhood home. Recently, Jessika stumbled upon thousands of photographs in the laboratory of eco-toxicologist and herbal pharmacologist Pierre Malychef, one of the three official scientific investigators assigned to the case. Malychef was an avid documenter of dumping sites as well as local flora for over five decades.

After seven years of investigation, the case was forcefully closed when Malychef was detained and accused of being a false witness. Rather than considering his photographs, scientific reports, and tests as material evidence of the toxic waste, the prosecutor accused him of fabricating and staging the toxic waste trade and inversely used the photographic and scientific evidence as proof of the staging. Through this act, the prosecutor upholds that—according to the Lebanese jurisprudential understanding of the values and falsification of truth and knowledge—all documents, scientific tests, and photographs are fictional and hold no power of truth and testimony.

 Khazrik’s discovery of Malychef’s involvement in the case and his body of work in photography and research initiated the founding of the interdisciplinary platform The Society of False Witnesses, whose first research center will be located in the late eco-toxicologist’s lab in Bsalim, with the intention of archiving his work and making it publicly accessible onsite and online. The center is scheduled to open in 2018. 

Additional Exhibition Information

Featured Artists include: Marwa Arsanios in collaboration with Samer Frangie, Sammy Baloji, Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, Design Earth, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Emre Hüner, Jessika Khazrik or The Society of False Witnesses, Adrian Lahoud, Emeric Lhuisset, Nicholas Mangan, Sophia Al Maria, Pedro Neves Marques, Marko Peljhan, Claire Pentecost, Monira Al Qadiri, Marwan Rechmaoui, and Natascha Sadr Haghighian.

A special series of publications, edited by Ashkan Sepahvand in collaboration with the exhibition curators, will be produced in conjunction with this exhibition, with contributions from Angela Anderson, Marwa Arsanios, Omar Berrada and Sarah Riggs, Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, Ewen Chardronnet, Adib Dada, Forensic Architecture, Rania Ghosn (Design Earth), Hamza Hamouchene, Razmig Keucheyan, Lara Khaldi, Jessika Khazrik, Kapwani Kiwanga, Adrian Lahoud, Bronwyn Lay, Erica Lee and Zoe Todd, Namik Mačkić, Fadi Mansour, Sophia Al Maria, Achille Mbembe, Angela Melitopoulos, Pedro Neves Marques, Elizabeth Povinelli, Pelin Tan, Françoise Vergès, and Elisabeth von Samsonow.

Exhibition partners: The American University of Beirut – University Libraries, Cedar Environmental, Château Marsyas, The Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon, The French Embassy in Lebanon, Al Furat Publishing and Distribution, marra.tein, Pikasso, Salem International Group (SIG), and V4 Advisors.

Download the exhibition guide in Arabic, English, and French.

venue

  • sursock museum
    Greek Orthodox Archbishopric Street
    Ashrafieh 2071 5509
    Beirut, Lebanon

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