VORTEX: CITIES AND MEMORIES
In the 39-minute sound installation by Rana Eid, which can be heard in the exhibition, four Lebanese female sound artists talk about their relationship to water. Here you can find English translations of the Arabic texts:
1. Marita Sbeih (Foley artist)
All my nightmares are about the water, I am drowning and I always don’t know if my feet are going to reach the ground or not.
I also dream of a huge wave going above me, as if it’s a train. It does not touch me, but I await it to fall on my head.
It’s been a while that I am trying to understand my relationship with the sea, where does this fear come from and why it is omnipresent in my dreams.
Our country (Lebanon) is mostly landlocked. Its only opening is on the sea.
For some, but also for me, seeing the sea is like a transition.
To feel we are somewhere else.
The fact that I can sit on the shore, relax, feel boundless and free my thoughts, is already an escape.
Others try to escape the country through the sea and drown in it.
These events affected me a lot, I don’t know if it is related to my dreams.
Year after year, the amount of people drowning while trying to escape is increasing.
I feel guilty when I am in the water, knowing there are people missing in the sea.
This has changed the way I perceive water.
I used to think that the sea brings people together on the main ground.
Water covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface, and watching the sea from the shore, I admired the immensity of the picture but also the uncertainty of everything around it. Yet I thought this was my connection to the outside world.
Now I feel the opposite. I am afraid when I see the vastness of the sea, what lies underwater, what is beyond the borders. And even if water connects the countries together, I feel that we as individuals…
2. Sandra Tabet (Filmmaker/Sound editor)
The most comfortable place for me is underwater.
All my thoughts become silenced.
When I was a kid, we used to spend the summer on the beach. My father told me that there is a city underwater, a big and beautiful and old city, no one knows where it is.
I thought that if there is a city underwater, this means that people used to breath underwater.
So, I decided to practice. If every day I go underwater, and try to hold my breath longer and longer,
I thought if I do that every day for several years, I can manage to live underwater, so I can find the city.
When I grew up, I understood that it was not possible to do that, but I kept on trying, I still try until now.
When I go underwater, I remember the city, I remember that I would love to find it, I remember my father, I love it there.
Also, I discovered recently that whales can’t breathe a lot underwater, only between an hour and three. So, I realized that it’s possible for someone to live underwater without being able to breath in it a long time. I am very relaxed underwater.
3. Rana Eid (Sound designer/Filmmaker)
In the beginning, I wasn’t afraid at all of the underwater. On the contrary, I used to feel that in this place there is a special kind of silence, there is some kind of electric ambiance, there is something soothing about it. There is only a small number of sounds, and I used to love the fact that the voices of people were muffled there.
And then, year after year, with problems of life, I understood that for me, there is a strong connection between my relationship to my mother and my relationship to the underwater world.
When I realized how much the relationship with my mother was troubled, I realized that I became more afraid of water. At some point I used to feel that I will lose my legs if I go deep underwater, and if I put my head underwater, I will suffocate.
Now, water for me is the place where people are floating, undead, and where there is a lot of uncomfortable souls.
We don’t know when they will emerge from under the water and judge us all.
4. Vanessa Kanaan (Dialog editor):
In English in the piece.
When I was a kid, my cousin drowned me. I don’t remember hearing anything, I don’t remember feeling much. All I remember is the lifeguard’s face jumping in to save me. That’s why I don’t know how to swim.
The underwater, the most claustrophobic place I can be. The unknown that exists. The depth, the movement and stillness at the same time. The inability to see properly. The inability to hear properly. The inability to breathe at all. Only feeling everything, knowing your senses aren’t working at 100 per cent. Overwhelming and terrifying and violent. To be so out of control. But a sensation I find myself craving most as well. The feeling of sinking willingly, the feeling on your skin, the silence and pressure, feeling your body can’t handle it for too long. But a feeling you seek. To feel the water lift your hair, making it move at a different pace. Everything you know is different. Giving parts of yourself to the water, allowing it to swallow you, even if just for a moment. A feeling I crave. A feeling I fear the most.
In English in the piece.
Hazem Saghieh (Lebanese political analyst and the political editor)
The Masses usually don’t remember; the masses mostly tend to forget. The individuals remember. The masses forget because it suits her to do that. The interest of the masses is to interpret history and interpret events in the interest of “General Good” of the masses.