We have been actively engaging with Sursock Museum on their exhibition Let’s Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis.
This post is about our participation in the panel discussion regarding the publication Elements for a World: WATER, looking at the short- and long-term consequences of ecological crisis and the legacy of toxic sites in Lebanon and elsewhere. WATER is the second publication in the series Elements for a World, produced in conjunction with the exhibition, to which Adib has contributed an essay “How Can Designers Create Conditions to Support Life?”
The panel discussion invited Adib Dada from theOtherDada, Dr. Nadim Farajalla from the American University of Beirut, Kareem Chehayeb and Sarah Shmaitilly from Beirut Syndrome and artist Jessika Khazrik.
The discussion covered the impacts of the current waste crisis on the water bodies in Lebanon; and the waste dumping that happened in Lebanon previously which is covered by Jessika Khazrik’s current installation at the museum. The discussion also tackled the problems of water mismanagement, water scarcity and their impacts for future generations. We talked about Beirut RiverLess and the project’s aim to reimagine and rehabilitate the Beirut River as a usable and sustainable public space; and how political failures are affecting our natural ecosystem.
The conclusion pointed out that even when living in a country where corruption takes place in the world of business and politics, there is always a way to work within the system to change the status quo of businesses and have a positive impact on the society. Moreover to be able to proceed with such a change it is important to start bottom up from an individual level, move to a community level, and eventually reach the national level.
In his piece How can designers create conditions that support life?, Adib Dada attempts to articulate the real challenges posed by ecological thought to urban development,
especially in Beirut. He is founder of theOtherDada, a transdisciplinary architecture and design practice that works on site-specific projects that integrate positive social and
environmental impacts. Such practices are especially important in a local and regional context where ecological sensitivity is hardly factored in – from planning and policy to
everyday sensibilities. The piece focuses on an urban strategy project theOtherDada is developing as a proposal to rehabilitate the Beirut River. Encased in concrete in 1968 and
flanked by highways on either side, the river is disconnected from both its ecosystem and the communities that neighbor it. The project BeirutRiverLESS proposes spatial interventions
that re-connect the river to its setting and renew access by surrounding co-habitants.
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