Sandra Schäfer, Schweiz / Libanon, 2016, OV Arabisch / Englisch, 0 Minuten

Mleeta / Contructed Futures: Haret Hreit

- Videoinstallationen -

«Mleeta» was filmed and staged on location at the «Museum of Resistance» in Lebanon. During the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon (1982-2000), Mleeta Mountain stood right in the middle of the occupied zone. Thirty-five kilometers from Israel to the south and forty kilometers from Syria to the east, the mountain served as a haven for Hezbollah fighters, making it the site of real battles as well. The summit of Mleeta is now home to the ‘Museum of Resistance’, a propagandistic re- enactment that reproduces scenic and military scenarios. Set up in the style of a theme park, visitors assume the role of both observer and performer. An auditorium screens lavishly-produced films that dramatically tell the history of the past battles, while guns and other weapons are integrated into the museum’s architecture. The installation «Mleeta» explores this theme park’s script with its perspectives, stagings, and narratives, with a focus on the creation of affective perception.

The Shiite dominated neighborhood Haret Hreik in Beirut houses the headquarters of the Hezbollah Party, invisible to the outside. In 2006 the Israeli Army bombarded the neighborhood, which Hezbollah then quickly rebuilt. This rebuilding project is part of a military conflict and a geopolitical network in which architecture takes part in the production of space, landscape, and memory. The video installation shows offices where the reconstruction was planned and designed, one of the rebuilt houses itself, as well as a hall where Hezbollah sympathizers regularly gather to attend video addresses by the party leader Hassan Nasrallah. What does it mean when new buildings are meant to be added without rupture or break into the existing urban structure and into individual memories? How has the interpretation of resistance by Hezbollah become a dominant project that is manifest spatially? What does building mean if it leaves no room for ruins and commemoration, because it thinks in a logic of brief intervals of warlessness?

Sandra Schäfer:

The artist deals in her work with the production of urban and transregional spaces, history and visual politics. Often her works are based on longer researches, in which she is concerned with processes of unfolding and re-reading of documents, images and spatial narratives. Currently she is doing her artistic PHD at HFBK Hamburg focusing on militant visual and spatial politics.

Her works were exhibited at Depo, Istanbul; La Virreina, Barcelona; National Gallery of Art, Vilnius; Camera Austria, Graz; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin; Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologien (ZKM), Karlsruhe. Schäfer’s practice also involves curating of film- and lecture programs. Thus 2003 she curated together with Jochen Becker and Madeleine Bernstorff the film festival ‚Kabul/Tehran 1979ff: Film Landscapes, Cities under Stress and migration’ at Volksbühne Berlin and Filmkunsthaus Babylon. She is an associated member of the feminist film distributor Cinenova in London. Furthermore, Schäfer held different teaching positions at art schools like the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem or the Academy of Fine Arts Hamburg. Currently she works at the department of art and art theory at University Cologne.