Mute Movements: A collective performance art journey through Beirut, 2009–2014
The first book of its kind in Lebanon, Mute Movements, documents the emergence of a performance art scene in Lebanon. The book illustrates the collective work of students and artists under the direction of Cornelia Krafft, former assistant professor at AUB. Captured in high-quality photographs and narrated through the performers' own words, Mute Movements invites the reader to embark on an inspirational journey through modern-day Lebanon as seen through the eyes of these young artists striving to confront their internal and external challenges on the personal, national, and regional levels. Their “mute" performances, situated in provocative locations, demanded attention and triggered debate. Played out in unorthodox settings – abandoned buildings, war ruins, along the sea-shore, in city streets and run-down cinemas – these performances required almost as much of the spectators as of the players with their fundamental questioning of issues of collective relevance: social responsibility, personal and regional identity, cultural heritage, censorship, conflict, freedom, and repression. Across the pages of the book, each performance unfolds in documentary-like fashion. The underlying theme, the evolution of performance art in Lebanon across five fertile years of artistic endeavor, lays the groundwork for years to come. While the focus is Lebanon and its youth, the bigger picture is a work in progress which is applicable far beyond the borders of one small country, making Mute Movements a valuable as well as highly enjoyable reference work. The overall minimalistic aesthetic and design of the book envelopes an extraordinary sample of strong artistic encouragement through contemporary education in the fields of performance, set design, and visual arts; the result is a document of international importance.