Image: E.D.L by Siska (Super 8 transferred to video / 21′, Beirut 2011-ongoing, Soundtrack: Christian Blumberg), photo: © Siska
Filmscreening EDL (Siska)
In the context of Port Fiction – a project by Moritz Frischkorn in collaboration with IMAGINE THE CITY
Saturday, 9 December 2023, 6 pm
Hosted by Kunsthaus Hamburg
As part of a small curated series of events around the project PORT FICTION, we are presenting the video E.D.L by Lebanese filmmaker Siska. The video portrays Lebanon’s National Electricity Building as an homage to a once modernist project linked to the very construction of Lebanon’s modern state. EDL, or Electricité Du Liban, represents the French colonial legacy in Lebanon and a continuing social and political conflict. Beirut and its suburbs have suffered from power cuts for several hours up to 23 hours a day since the civil war period (1975-1990). Control over the actual power switch has always been a conflictual issue. Overlooking the horizon and the port, this 13-story modernist building seems like a social housing residence. As a source of controversy and criticism over its lack of transparency, mismanagement, and corruption, the landmark stands as a monument. Lost in time and translation the images transport us on an obscure journey behind the modernist facade of Beirut’s electricity building. The moving images, shot on Super 8, are accompanied by droning noises reminiscent of experimental, electronic sounds of the 1950s and 1960s. A massive blast struck the building on August 4th, 2020, killing many people. Due to the building’s close proximity to Beirut’s port, it was damaged and destroyed in large parts. It is as unfortunate as it is uncanny that the explosion turned the footage shot in 2011 into historical evidence, while the building and its surrounding areas have become crime scenes.
The film screening will be followed by an artist talk.
Siska was born in Beirut and resides primarily in Berlin. He holds a Master’s degree in Film and Audiovisual Arts from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. A key figure in the early Beiruti graffiti scene, Siska has also produced and performed music as part of the Lebanese Hip Hop group Kitaa Beirut قطاع بيروت. A large part of his practice involves archiveology, examining sociopolitical narratives in relation to personal and collective memories. It is common for his work to take the form of extended cinema where he applies cinematic codes as well as film language in order to explore various visual narrative techniques. At the Haus der Statistics in Berlin in August-2021, he co-curated a series of conversations, films, readings, and live performances as the artistic director of redeem رديم , a platform for ongoing conversations between voices from Beirut in Berlin.
PORT FICTION is a project by Moritz Frischkorn, in collaboration with IMAGINE THE CITY and Kunsthaus Hamburg. The project is supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from NEUSTART KULTUR – the rescue and future-oriented package for the fields in arts and culture, financed by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM). The exhibition and event series are funded by Susanne und Michael Liebelt Stiftungsfond under the roof of Hamburgische Kulturstiftung e.V.