‘Life despite here’ is an on-going series on the plethora of urban social issues plaguing the city of Beirut, depicting its perpetual state of disrepair and stagnation in the shadow of the Syrian crisis and a national political vacuum.
The series began in October 2013, when local and international media coverage was greatly focused on sectarian tensions and violence within and across the Lebanese border. Headlines aside, life in the city was carrying on as usual. Yet, with more ‘important’ and ‘urgent’ problems to deal with, the government has turned a blind eye to the intra-urban social and civic issues. Left to fester and multiply, their impact is much more closely felt by the local population than the ‘greater’ troubles used as an excuse to disregard them. Negligence and corruption date back to the start of the civil war in 1975 and remain rampant.
The perpetual absence of positive action has created a built environment that embodies these qualities and a population that is civically apathetic and disengaged. Using the built form both as stage and protagonist, the series tells a story of a rapidly paced and largely uncontrolled construction/demolition frenzy, of wasted potential and hazardous living conditions, and of people, present, but detached.