لمياء ابوخضرا


Seven black and white photograms made from videos of varying length
Each image measures 4.5 in x 2.5 // 11.5 cm x 6.5 cm

In the summer of 2021, the fuel crisis that subsumed Lebanon created a cataclysmic atmosphere in which all continuity of daily life was interrupted.

It is not clear if it was the state I was in or the state Beirut was rapidly descending into, but I began to perceive the city around me differently. The best way I have been able to explain is through this experience I had multiple times throughout the summer: It is daylight. I am riding in the back of a taxi to a place I have been to many times. We take the major boulevards running through the city, they are roads I am very familiar with. We enter a tunnel, it is pitch black. We emerge from the tunnel and I have no idea where I am. I know where I am, I know where I am going, I know where I was, yet, I cannot recognize my surroundings. After a few seconds, I recover from the feeling of vertigo and I start to recognize my surroundings again.

It’s possible that rapidly moving through a pitch black tunnel to suddenly appear into the brilliant light of day was a contributing factor to my vertigo. I had the urge to start filming the experience to try and record this lapse of orientation, to see if anyone else could see what I was experiencing. But the videos do not capture what I see when I go through these tunnels. I exposed photosensitive paper to the videos I took in the tunnels so that these video sequences became single images. The blurred quality of each image and the forms they capture create a sense of movement. Forms are between the recognizable and unrecognizable, it takes a minute to orient yourself within the images, if you can at all.

27 July, 2021
20 seconds
Tunnel on General Fouad Chehab Boulevard; almost home. No conversation.

28 July, 2021
29 seconds
Tunnel on General Fouad Chehab Boulevard; almost home. No conversation, wind blows through open windows.

15 August, 2021
8 seconds
Tunnel on General Fouad Chehab Boulevard; almost home. The fluctuating exchange rate is discussed.

19 February, 2022
4 seconds
Tunnel on Saeb Salam boulevard; going from Mathaf in the direction of downtown. No conversation, wind is especially loud.

25 February, 2022
13 seconds
Tunnel on Charles Malek boulevard; going from Basta to Reem’s house. The taxi driver says, “We are history”, “نحن تاريخ”.

27 February, 2022
35 seconds
Tunnel where General De Gaulle boulevard becomes Saeb Salam; on the way to Mathaf from the sea. No conversation.

26 March, 2022
7 seconds
Tunnel on General Fouad Chehab in the direction of Achrafieh; going to Youmna’s house. The taxi driver says something with the word “expertise”, “خبرة”.