Ashkal Alwan and the Beirut Exhibition Center present How Soon is Now: A Tribute to Dreamers, the first solo exhibition of Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige in Beirut. While not a retrospective, the show includes projects from 1997 to 2012 that underscore the artists' ongoing research on the image and representation of the present. Through photographs, installations, objects and videos, Hadjithomas and Joreige question the process of image making, the preservation of historical traces, and the role of imagination and dreams in shaping a possible shared narrative today.
Earlier works included by Hadjithomas and Joreige such as Equivalences (1997), Circle of Confusion (1997), and Rounds (2001) explore personal and communal relationships to the city, its transformation, destruction and reconstruction, as well as its representation. Others like Lasting Images (2003), 180 Seconds of Lasting Images (2006), and Latent Images, part of the project Wonder Beirut (1996-2007), are concerned with strategies of imaging, the revelation of images through hidden and latent traces, and the conditions under which such imagery is made visible.
Hadjithomas and Joreige also present their most recent project, Lebanese Rocket Society, an exploration of an Armenian-Lebanese space program initiated in the 1960s that successfully launched the first regional rocket. Founded by Manoug Manougian, a professor of math and physics at Haigazian University, along with students, the society soon incorporated civil engineers and experts from the Lebanese Army. Between 1960 and 1967, at the time of the space race, revolutionary ideas, and Pan-Arabism, more than ten increasingly large Cedar rockets were designed, produced, and launched into the Lebanese sky. Lebanese Rocket Society ponders the absence of this program from our collective memory, shedding light on our perceptions of the past and present - and our imagination of the future.
How Soon is Now: A Tribute to Dreamers testifies to Hadjithomas and Joreige's quest for new perspectives. It relays their attempts at poetizing reality through photography, by engaging the viewer, and through the reenactment of certain moments as a tribute to dreamers, in order to find, as French philosopher Gilles Deleuze put forth, "reasons to believe in this world".
FEBRUARY 28TH - APRIL 20TH, 2012