At the Edge of the Forest, a Garden

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Beirut Art Center | June–September 2021 | Collective Exhibition

The Camelia Committee was hosted by the Beirut Art Center for a six month residency during which we set up for a collective exhibition on the mezzanine space: At the Edge of the Forest, a Garden. The project is the first collective manifestation of the committee. The exhibition consisted of a three-channel video installation, a herbarium in six parts and six portraits of a character called Camelia.

Produced by The Camelia Committee and the Beirut Art Center | Technical Director: Nadim Daibes, Rawad Kanj | Beirut Art Center Team: Haig Aivazian, Ahmed Ghossein, Rana Nasser-Eddin, Lori Kharpoutlian, Ara Giragossian

On the outskirts of an enchanted forest, a secret garden has been unveiled. Here and there, the polyphonic voices of Camelia emerge in different iterations, taking us on multiple journeys as we attempt to grasp fragments of her various manifestations. First we enter the forest, a three-channel installation by Mira Adoumier entitled Dreams of a Wandering Octopus.

I watch you disappear behind the rocky hill as you walk lightly away, looking for your way back through the forest we got lost in. You asked: Do we come to nature to preserve our limits or to surpass them? Three voices unfold over three screens as a woman plunges into the depth of an enchanted thousand-year-old cedar forest.

Cinematography: Mark Khalifé, Ramzi Hibri | Montage: Carine Doumit | Texts: Mira Adoumier, Carine Doumit, Mohamed A. Gawad | Sound Design: Jad Atoui | Sound Recording: Tatiana el Dahdah | Voices: Ziad Chakaroun, Carine Doumit | Coloring: Chrystel Elias

A secret door unveils a herbarium composed of six plants, gathered, described, dissected, documented, and indexed. Together, these strange creatures form a fragmented garden, remnants of a place far away in space and time. This multi-media installation by Nour Ouayda includes plant specimens, photographs, texts, risographs and a video.

On the invisible walls of the secret garden are letters, notebook pages and sketches, fragments that constitute a heterogeneous portrait of Camelia, written by Carine Doumit.

Editor: Nesrine Khodr | Graphic Design: Karine Wehbe, Abraham Zeitoun, Al Matbaa Printing Co

All photographs by Joana Kahi