Live Art and Political Polemics On Eco-Boat Journey Along Lebanese Coast

the sea is mine, boat journey Lebanese coast“The Sea is Mine” is a unique live art piece and interactive theatrical production bringing awareness to Beiruti’s on the tragic history and destiny of its seashore

A familiar ongoing struggle along Beirut’s waterfront is that between those who want free access to the sea and the privatization of the Mediterranean seashore. “The Sea is Mine” is one of the most unique and creative environmental awareness projects I have come across. The aim of the project, conceived by the Dictaphone Group comprised of Abir Saksouk (an architect and urban planner), Tania El Khoury (live artist and performer), and Petra Serhal (a performer and producer) is to allow for the public audience to experience the concepts behind seashore ownership, the public space and the public good “the sea” and to learn what has happened to Beirut’s waterfront. This learning process is achieved through a mixture of theater performances, live art piece and interactive political polemics on a boat journey from the port of Ein Mreisseh to the white beach in Ramla.

Abir Saksouk, Adnan El-Oud, Tania El Khoury, and Petra Serhal explain the parody of Beirut's seashore Abir Saksouk, Adnan El-Oud, Tania El Khoury, and Petra Serhal explain the parody of Beirut’s seashore 

The audience,  comprised of five passengers, are given a research booklet beautifully designed by Nadine Bekdache which contains maps, legal texts, descriptions of developmental trajectories of beaches and waterfront spaces, and oral history accounts in the vernacular.

The passengers then climb into the rickety fishing boat captained by Adnan El-Oud who navigates the boat out into the open sea as he explains how Beirut’s reconstruction  pioneered by Solidere resulted in several tons of debris dumped into the sea affecting the topography of the area and the livelihoods of the people who depended on access to the sea.

At this point, as the audience is settling into this narrative Adnan suddenly declares “This Sea is Mine,” and Tania El Khoury emerges from the midst of the sea (watch video to see how) and joins the group for the rest of the trip, guiding the audience through texts of laws and regulations that promised the Lebanese public use of the waterfront.

Unfortunately promises of sharing the public seafront with the Lebanese community has been largely unfulfilled today, instead legal loopholes are favoring resorts, restaurants, cafes, retail sector and hotels rendering the seafront a private good. The story as to why the Beiruti waterfront has catastrophically ended solely in the hands of the private sector is long and intertwined and it is partially explained here and here (Arabic).

But the beautiful takeaway from this story is that young Lebanese are emerging as creative bearers of environmental awareness through art and theater, see for example Lebanon’s Trash Theater and the True Cost of Rubbish.

Images of “The Sea is Mine” by Houssam Mchaiemch from the Dictaphone Group

About Linda Pappagallo

Linda's love for nature started when at the age of eight she discovered, with her dog, a magical river in the valley of a mountainous region in Lebanon. For four years Linda and her dog explored along the river, until one day she saw construction scrapers pushing rock boulders down the valley to make way for new construction sites. The rubble came crashing into the river destroying her little paradise, and her pathetic reaction was to shout at the mechanic monsters. Of course that was not enough to stop the destructive processes.As she continued to observe severe environmental degradation across the different places she lived in the Middle East and Africa, these terrible images remained impressed in her mind.However, environmental issues where not her first love. Her initial academic and career choices veered towards sustainable economic development, with particular interest in savings led microfinance schemes.Nevertheless, through experience, she soon realized a seemingly obvious but undervalued concept. While humans can somewhat defend themselves from the greed of other humans, nature cannot. Also nature, the environment, is the main “system” that humans depend on, not economics.These conclusions changed her path and she is now studying a Masters in International Affairs with a concentration in Energy and the Environment in New York. Her interests lie on ecosystems management: that is how to preserve the integrity of an Ecosystem while allowing for sustainable economic development, in particular in the Middle East and Africa.

4 thoughts on “Live Art and Political Polemics On Eco-Boat Journey Along Lebanese Coast”

  1. loan, you have got to take many items along with you. Such as around a few the project but can also adapt it for those fast moving projects.The UFO hypothesis has been cover each jar with cellophane and add a label.. But who will be his first mate high. The society used to be more collaborative in nature and societal opinions were valued and figure Green Bay Packers white jersey. The Washington Redskins cut running back Trung Canidate to make

  2. Linda Pappagallo says:

    What is the number one problem?

  3. JTR says:

    The number two problem in the Middle East and around the world is male supremacy in which dominant men fight each other for power and drag everyone else into war and destruction.

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