tabula rasa


In Lebanon, history books are closed on a final chapter in 1946. 74 years later, the clock is still ticking when in fact our memory is frozen in time.

In an attempt to flee from our past, we, the Lebanese people, drowned ourselves in a numbing collective amnesia where we attempted to ignore 74 years of clashes, turmoil, and loss. 74 years of a past that remains unaccounted for. 74 years that on official paper seem as if they never existed. The Lebanese socio-political scene that is imbued with sectarianism made sure that the narrative remains divided into a multiplicity of perspectives applying a “divide and conquer” mindset. Our past is rooted in shame. It would rather vanish into the distance rather than to accept the atrocities of its reality.

“tabula rasa” examines the relationship between the enforced act of destruction of memory through the erasure of history and its repercussion on the future. It navigates 74 years of void in the Lebanese timeline with stories created inside of coffee cups.

Coffee grounds draw the lines that tell a story of what happened treading on a fine line between reality and fiction. The project takes a ritual grounded in Lebanese folklore, shifts its original purpose, and uses its storytelling characteristics to create a new take on the country’s narrative. The freedom and individuality of interpretation of a reading meets the blurred lines created by a non-agreed upon history.

This body of work investigates the duality between a found archive and a created one, through the display of the family archives to populate the story and the archiving process of the newly created coffee cups and readings. The visuals created were manipulated through scratching and tearing mimicking the way we remember, pushing the viewer to attempt to reconstruct the full story.

This parallel tale begins in a post-apocalyptic now where we ceased to be. For how can a people with an obliterated memory aim for a future. It takes us on a journey into the past endeavoring to uncover the reasons behind our eradication.

By delving into that alternative narrative “tabula rasa” adresses the void by acknowledging its presence, and questioning whether the process of remembrance is holistic or is it bound to always be interrupted/incomplete, hence in metamorphosis.

chapter 5: vanishing point | 2020

chapter 5 : vanishing point | 2020 (Installation Mock-up)

reading transcript

Look at that face she got. You have a big face you’re going to meet. The meeting will be great. The face seems old, I don’t know but this face is persistent, and you’re having a discussion with it. Two signs push you to go and start a conversation. You’re going to go through a white gate in the very near future.Here you are a little bit frustrated but you’re walking on a road, a long road, not like to jbeil, no, a slightly longer road. You have two gates, one gate two, and both are beautiful. A proud rooster, Oh look at this bird how it is rooted, a rooted bird brings you a piece of news that will make you happy. You will meet two people three, you’ll meet three people and this meeting with regards to your fortune. Meaning that it’s about a certain piece you will be happy about. Two bad eyes… I hope they get ripped out. You have one face two not good, take from it and don’t give. It’s not good at all. You think it’s good, but it’s not. Swipe your finger in the cup and make a wish, let’s see. Two signs you’ll hear, you’ve wished for something and this something will happen but with a little bit of time.

ليكي‭ ‬هل‭ ‬وج‭ ‬لطالعلا‭. ‬عندك‭ ‬وج‭ ‬كبير‭ ‬بدك‭ ‬تتقابلي‭ ‬انتي‭ ‬ويه‭ ‬مقابلة‭ ‬حلوه‭, ‬كبير‭ ‬بالعمر‭ ‬بالجاه‭ ‬ما‭ ‬بعرف‭ ‬بس‭ ‬هل‭ ‬وج‭ ‬صامد‭ ‬عام‭ ‬تحكي‭ ‬حديث‭ ‬انتي‭ ‬ويه‭ ‬اشارتين‭ ‬بتقصدي‭ ‬وبتروحي‭ ‬بتحكي‭ ‬حديث‭ ‬انتي‭ ‬ويه‭. ‬بوابه‭ ‬بيضا‭ ‬بدك‭ ‬تفوتي‭ ‬فيا‭ ‬بأقرب‭ ‬وقت‭. ‬هون‭ ‬ملبكي‭ ‬شوي‭ ‬بس‭ ‬طريق‭ ‬ماشية‭ ‬فيا‭ ‬طريق‭ ‬طويله‭ ‬مش‭ ‬إنو‭ ‬عجبيل‭ ‬لأ‭ ‬طريق‭ ‬طويله‭ ‬شوي‭. ‬عندك‭ ‬بوابتين،‭ ‬بوابه‭ ‬تنين‭ ‬وتنيناتن‭ ‬حلوين‭. ‬ديك‭ ‬معنق،‭ ‬يا‭ ‬ليك‭ ‬هل‭ ‬طير‭ ‬كيف‭ ‬مشوح،‭ ‬طير‭ ‬مشوح‭ ‬جايبلك‭ ‬خبر‭ ‬بت‭ ‬كوني‭ ‬مبسوطة‭. ‬عندك‭ ‬مقابلة‭ ‬شخص‭, ‬تنين‭, ‬تلاتي‭ ‬بدك‭ ‬تقابلة‭ ‬ثلاثة‭ ‬أشخاص‭ ‬و‭ ‬هل‭ ‬مقابلة‭ ‬بخصوص‭ ‬هل‭ ‬رزقة‭ ‬يعني‭ ‬بخصوص‭ ‬قطعة‭ ‬شي‭ ‬إنت‭ ‬تنبسطي‭ ‬فيا‭.‬عينتين‭ ‬ينقلعو‭. ‬عندك‭ ‬وج‭ ‬تنين‭ ‬مش‭ ‬منيح‭ ‬خدي‭ ‬منو‭ ‬ما‭ ‬تعطي،‭ ‬منو‭ ‬منيح‭ ‬أبداً،‭ ‬إنت‭ ‬بتفكري‭ ‬منيح‭ ‬بس‭ ‬هو‭ ‬منو‭ ‬منيح‭. ‬ضمري‭  ‬تشوف اشارتين‭ ‬بدك‭ ‬تسمعي‭ ‬فين،‭ ‬ضامرة‭ ‬عشي‭ ‬وهل‭ ‬شي‭ ‬بدو‭  ‬يصير‭ ‬بس‭ ‬في‭ ‬نتفت‭ ‬وقت

documentation of cup 5

the disappearance of adam, 2020
80 x 80 cm

dawn of day, 2020
1m x 1m

6:07, 2020
1m x 1m

chapter 4: the calm before the void | 2019 – 2006

chapter 4: the calm before the void | 2019 – 2006 (Installation Mock-up)

reading transcript

You have a white gate at the handle of the cup. It’s a beautiful gate. You will go through it with regards to work, with regards to a career. You go to a person for something, I don’t know.You have one person, two, three you’re going to meet.A bird bringing you news. A white paper that has good news. This is a power tree. This is a large door you’ll go through Frustrated, what’s wrong? You’re frustrated about something in our head. Look your friend, your mother, I don’t know, sitting and telling you something as you listen to her. But this a nice something. A lit candle, don’t blow out this candle because it is giving. Two big eyes like this.This sneaky lizard of a person, you hear something about him. Swipe your finger in the cup and make a wish, let’s see. Wish on something if it comes true or not because of this big face. Big by age, big by wisdom, I don’t know but it’s what’s going to help you.

عندك بوابه بيضا عدينة الفنجان حلوي كتير هيدي البوابه بدك تفوتي فيا بخصوص شغل بخصوص عمل بتقصدي شخص على شي ما بعرف عندك شخص تنين تلاتي بدك تتقابلي إنت وييهن طير نقلك خبر ورقة بيضا فيا خبر حلو هيدي شجرة عز هيدا باب واسع بدك تفوتي في ملبكي اش بكي ولو ملبكي عشي بمخك ليكي رفيقتك صاحبتك مابعرف امك ما بعرف قاعده وعم بتخبرك شي وإنت عم تسمعيلا بس هالشي حلو شمعة مضوية هالشمعة ما تطفيا لان هي العاطيتك عينتين هيك كبار هيدا الشخص حردون محردن بتسمعي عنو شي ضمريلي تشوف ضمرة عشي إذا بدو يزبط يما لأ بدو يزبط بسبب هل وج لكبير، كبير بالجاه كبير بالعمر ما بعرف بس هو لبدو يساعدك علي

documentation of cup 4

firestorm, 2019
60 cm x 60 cm

fallen structure, 2020 (as combined with the archive)
60 cm x 60 cm

chapter 3: the aftermath | 2005 – 1991

chapter 3: the aftermath | 2005 – 1991 (installation mock-up)

reading transcript

You have a white door, but it’s narrow. It’s not a wide white door but you have a nice road to the door you will go through. You have a not so good news, look, did you see this news? God almighty please let it be not true. This flying bird wants to tell you something, like this, it will make you a little bit mad. And at that time, your friend, I don’t know, will go and tell you something that will make you sad. She either told you and you got sad or you will get sad. Here there is a person Did you read a paper? Sign a paper? You’re promised a paper to read, to sign, to execute, I don’t know yeah, it will come. You have this face sitting like this, old by age, old by wisdom, I don’t know but it has good news in its mouth. A lit candle in front of you. Look a short road you’ll walk on and meet a person. A long road you’ll walk and meet this face, look, regarding this piece, well it will happen. You have a blind meeting. You have a bad face take from it and don’t give it. Two formed faces, they’re jealousy, I don’t know but they’re not good, I know these two faces are not good. Frustrated. You’re invited to a table, you’ll sit on a table with someone. A flying bird bringing you a good news at the bottom of the cup. This is a chicken. You’re telling it something very good. Swipe your finger in the cup and make a wish, let’s see. Your intention, not your gratefulness. Do you see how your consciousness is glowing? Look at those meetings you have. You will see people sitting at a table, you’re meeting with them. You’re sitting with them, I don’t know but yes, very beautiful.

عندك باب أبيض بس ضيق منو باب أبيض واسع بس عندك طريق باب بدك تفوتي في حلوعندك خبر مش منيح ليكي شفتي هيدا خبر الله يا ربي دخلك يكذبناهيدا طير طاير بدو يخبرك شي هيك بتعصبي نتفه وبتروح بوقتا رفيقك رفيقتك ما بعرف بدا تقلك شي بدك تزعلي يا قالتلك يه و زعلتي يا بدك تزعليهون شخص قريتي ورقة مضيتي ورقة ؟ عندك ورقة موعودي فيا انك تقريا تمضيا تنفزيا ما بعرف إيه بدا تجي عندك هل وج قاعد هيك كبير بالعمر كبير بالجاه ما بعرف إيه بتمو خبر حلو شمعة مضوية قدامك ليكي طريق قصيرة بدك تمشي فيا و تقابلي شخص و طريق طويله تقابلي هل وج ليكي بخصوص هالقطعة إيه بدا تصير بتقابلي مقابله عبياض عندك وج مش منيح خدي منو ما تعطي شي وجين نائحين هيك عليكي هني غيري هني حسد ما بعرف بس منن مناح بعرف هول الوجين مش مناح ملبكي نعزمتي عطاوله بتقعدي انتي و شخص عطاوله قلب البيت منيح طير طاير ناقلك خبر حلو بالكعب هيدي دجاجي عم بتخبريا شي بس كتير منيحة ضمري عنيتك ولا جميلتك شفتي ضميرك كيف مشعشع ليكي هل مقابلات لعندك ياهن بدك تقابلي أشخاص قاعده عا طاوله متل مجتمعة إنت وييهن قاعده إنت وييهن ما بعرف بس إيه حلو كتير

documentation of cup 3

rebuild 01, 2020
1m x 1m

rebuild 02, 2020
80 cm x 80 cm

barricade, 2020 (as combined with the archive)
20 cm x 20 cm

chapter 2: the rupture | 1990 – 1975

chapter 2: the rupture | 1990 – 1975 (installation mock-up)

reading transcript

You have meetings on the handle of the cup. Very beautiful meetings You have an open road with regards to your work, your career You talk to old people, old by age, old by wisdom, I don’t know but they’re very nice You have a bad face you’re going to hear bad news from it. Don’t be glad to have met it Look, you’re frustrated, you have frustration, like, how could I explain, like a person who’s not good, like a centipede, I don’t know how it looks like Did you read a paper? If yes, it means it has passed Look look at the bird please, did you see it? Did you see these words he’s bringing? You have a cat’s face that’s not so nice, a big cat face Look you’re going to sit on a table with a lot pf people, there will be discussions, do you understand me? There will be talks that will make you sad and you turn your back and leave. And if it repeats, don’t go back in Because it’s like someone is fooling someone else by creating scenarios. Take from them, don’t give them This chicken is sitting and you’re telling it all your problems. You’re sitting and you’re word vomiting this discussion, like as if someone should not advise you, you know how? Beautiful candle You laugh at a work salary But it needs talking, and it needs time. Not like just Be it, no Swipe your finger in the cup and make a wish, let’s see. Look at these two faces you wished upon, wishing on two faces who are talking and gesturing, understand how? You’re all fighting, I don’t know There are words, there are words like that, I don’t know, look at this person how he’s stepping out.

عندك مقابلات عدينة الفنجان مقابلات حلوي كتير عندك طريق مفتوحة بوجك بخصوص شغل عمل بتحكي مع أشخاص كبار بالعمر كبار بالجاه ما بعرف بس كتير مناح عندك وج مش منيح بدك تسمعي منو خبر شي ما تنبسطي في أبداً    ليكي ملبكي عندك تلبيك عندك متل كيف بدي قلك متل شخص منو منيح هيك متل إم أربعة و اربعين  مدري كيف موديلو قريتي ورقة ؟ إذا اه يعني مرقت ليكي ليكي هل طير بشرفك شفتي شفتي هل حكي لجيبلك ياهن عندك وج بسين منو منيح، وج بسين كبير   ليكي بدك تقعدي ع طاوله انتي و عدة أشخاص بدو يصير فيا حكي فهمتي عليي؟ بسير فيا حكي وبتنؤهري وبتزعلي وبتبرمي ضهرك وبتمشي  وإذا نعاد ما تفوتي في بقا لأن متل حدا عم بركب فيلم علثاني خدي منن ما تعطين هاي دجاجي قاعدي وعم بت خبريا عم تشكيلا همك، قاعدي وعم تكريلة بهل حديث متل واحد يعني ويلو ينصحك ويلو عرفت كيف شمعة حلوي بتضحكي عقبضة عمله  بس عليا حكي وعليا وقت مش كوني فا كانت لأ ضموري لشوف ليك هل وجين لضمرة علين، ضمرة ع وجين عام تحكي وتشبر عرفتي كيف عم بتشارعين عم بشارعوكي  ما بعرف في حكي، في حكي وانتي بت كونه هيك ما بعرف. ليكي هل شخص كيف فاشخ

inferno, 2020
1m x 1m

green line, 2020
60 cm x 60 cm

embrasure 01, 2020
20 cm x 20 cm
embrasure 02, 2019 (Analogue print)
15 cm x 15 cm
embrasure 03, 2020
20 cm x 20 cm
(as combined with the archive)

chapter 1: the beginning of the end| 1974 – 1946

chapter 1: the beginning of the end| 1974 – 1946 (installation mock-up)

reading transcript

On the handle of the cup you have a face you’re talking to. A big face you’re talking with on the handle of the cup. A big white gate you’re going through with regards to work, to a career, I don’t know A long road A lit candle in front of you however you come and go A pigeon transporting news You have two eyes, two eyes on you Look at this saint, do you see the saint? You have asked him something, you ask him for something and he gives it to you A person taking a big step and coming to greet you Did someone ask you for money? Did you ask someone? Someone asks you, or you ask them, I don’t know This chicken, a friend of yours sitting and telling you something You hear a quarrel you go into, you don’t go into, I don’t know but there is a quarrel and you’re going to be there. Swipe your finger in the cup and make a wish, let’s see. Two signs you have a piece of news that will happen or not, but it needs a little time, it’s not let it be, and it will happen, not like you thought will happen.

عدينة الفنجان عندك وج عم تحكي انت ويه، وج كبير عم تحكي حديث انتي ويه ع دينة الفنجان بوابه بيضة كبيره بدك تفوتي فيابخصوص شغل بخصوص عمل ما بعرف طريق طويله شمعة مضوية ادامك كيف ما رحتي كيف ما جيتي حمام ناقل خبر عندك عينتين، عينتين ناقحين نقح عليكي ليك هل قديس شفتي قديس طالبي منو شي بتطلبي منو شي بيعطيكي شخص فاشخ وجاية سلام بينك وبينو قبضة عمله زغيري حدة طالب منك مصاري؟طلبته من حدا؟ شخص بيطلب منك بتطلبي منو ما بعرف هيدي دجاجي بنت رفيقتق قاعده وعم بت خبرك شي بتسمعي بشريعة بتدخل فيا ما بتدخل فيا ما بعرفبس في شريعة بدك تكون موجود ضمرلي تشوف اشارتين عندك خبر ضمرة ع شي إذا بدو يصير ولا لأ بس نتفة وقت مش كوني فكانت مش متل ما انتي حاطة بمخك بس بصير

documentation of cup 1

candle light, 2020
1m x 1m

meeting point, 2020
20 cm x 20 cm

premonitions, 2020
20 cm x 20 cm
premonitions, 1960
7,5 cm x 10 cm

to view the whole project, please send request to:

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